Thursday, October 25, 2012


You Bleeding Yankee Blue readers know my love for Ichiro Suzuki and I’ve loved the guy way before he was a New York Yankee.  The way he plays the game with his amazing bat control and athletic ability in the field has attached me to this guy, kind of the way I fell in love with Pete Rose and Rickey Henderson as a kid.  There is something about him that makes him a very special player.  

That being said, I became interested in talking to the author of the new book “Baseball is just Baseball: the Understated Ichiro”, David Shields. 
Unusual for a Yankee website, sure, but as you know, we are fans of the game of baseball first and foremost, and this was right up our alley. Plus, David Shields is a Seattle Mariners guy, so asking a question about Jesus Montero for Michael Pineda 1 year later wouldn’t exactly be out of the ordinary right? So, I bring you now, our interview with David Shields. Enjoy this, I did.
BYB: David, How long have you followed Ichiro’s career and what was it about him that interested you the most?

David ShieldsI’ve been following Ichiro’s career since 2001.  I’m fascinated by the precision of his craftsmanship.

BYB: Why write a book about Ichiro Suzuki?

David Shields: I love how much he pushes back against the cliches of American sports and sports writing. He never answers the questions the way he's supposed to. I find that thrilling.

BYB: We here at Bleeding Yankee Blue had a "gut" feeling Ichiro was going to become a Yankee back in June when we wrote ICHIRO IN PINSTRIPES? ANYTHING'S POSSIBLE. At the time, his contract combined with the Yankees RISP struggles were the biggest factors in my thinking? What did you think when Ichiro was traded to the Bronx?

David Shields: I live in Seattle, so I was of course disappointed for the Mariners - I was happy for Ichiro. My feelings were very mixed. The Mariners were and are lousy. Ichiro had become a lazy ex-superstar, living only for padding his stats. Frankly, the feeling here was 'Good Riddance.' It was no longer working for him in Seattle.

BYB: Do you think the Yankees should resign Ichiro for right field as opposed to a Nick Swisher who is in his first Free Agent year and looking for a pay day? If so or if not, why?

David Shields
: Ichiro stays in amazingly good shape, so I think he will be an effective player until age 40. If I were the Yankees General Manager and I had to decide between Nick Swisher and Ichiro, I think I’d probably sign Ichiro, because Ichiro seems to have nicely rejuvenated in New York. Plus, as I say, he stays in remarkably good shape.

BYB: Tell me one thing about Ichiro that our readers wouldn't know about.

David Shields: A quote. When Ichiro was asked for his favorite American expression, he said, 'Kansas City in summer is hotter than two rats in a f**king wool sock.'
(In photo: Jesus Montero)
BYB: Let me change gears for 1 question. I need to ask you about the Montero/Pineda trade. Yankee fans were disappointed when Jesus Montero was traded to the Mariners for Michael Pineda. What was the reaction from you, a Mariners fan when Pineda went to NY?

David Shields: Jesus Montero has proved to be a good hitter here, but still not much of a catcher. Overall, he’s been a good add. I loved the Pineda-Felix Duo, but I didn’t realize Pineda had the arm troubles that he has. So far, the trade has obviously benefited the Mariners, but I could see stranger things happen once Pineda comes back.

BYB:  Ok, you get a free plug. Why should people buy your book "Baseball is just Baseball: The Understated Ichiro"?

David Shields: Because it's a very cool book about how to live your life. How to focus on process rather than product.  How to find joy in the seeking.

BYB:  Final question, have you ever read Bleeding Yankee Blue? If so, what do you think?

David Shields: My father was born in Brooklyn, he was a Dodger fan. I was raised in LA--also a Dodger fan. I now live in Seattle. I’m not a Yankee fan, but I like your site.

OK David, maybe over time we’ll sway you. 

I want to thank David for speaking with BYB, I truly appreciate it and I encourage everyone to go pick up his book. In fact, here is the Amazon link HERE, buy one.

A special thanks to Eliza Rosenberry at Blue Rider Press for making this happen!

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