Top photo credit: photo courtesy of Ben VanHouten, Seattle Mariners
Ichiro Suzuki, one of baseball’s greatest players, returned home to Japan where his career began to play his final game and announce his retirement.
On March 21, Ichiro played the first eight innings in the opening series at the Tokyo Dome before walking off the field for the final time. The 45-year-old player received a standing ovation as his teammates met him on the field with applause and hugs.
After the game, Ichiro spoke to reporters and teammates through an interpreter.
“For me, it doesn’t get better than tonight. Nothing can top what happened tonight for me,” he said when asked why he announced his plans when he did.
Ichiro began his professional baseball career in Japan in 1992. In 2001, he came to play for the Seattle Mariners. Many people were unsure whether he could make the transition, but he grew from a young talent to a standout player and into an icon of the game over his 19 years in Major League Baseball, MLB.
Ichiro played with the Mariners until 2012 and then played for the New York Yankees and the Miami Marlins. He returned to the Mariners in 2018. In his 19-year MLB career, he was a 10-time All Star and picked up 3,089 hits—on top of the 1,278 hits he had during his career in Japan.
One question on everyone’s mind was what Ichiro plans to do next.
“I think it’s going to take some time to really think back, but I’m going to work out tomorrow.” Reporters and Ichiro’s teammates laughed because his work ethic is WORLD RENOWNED. “I don’t think I’m going to spend some time on the couch, but I’m going to continue to do what I do,” he continued with a smile.
One thing he was certain about is that he would like to continue contributing to the game.
“It’s tough to think about it right now,” Ichiro said. “But all the things that I’ve learned, if I could share that with kids or major-league players. I want to do something. If I could be of any help, that’s what I would like to do.”
Get Ready, Set, Explore Arizona!
Now’s the perfect time to explore the outdoors with family and friends!
Ken Sliwa, community relations administrator for Arizona State Parks & Trails, says when it comes to the outdoors, Arizona is outstanding. “It’s a beautiful state. There are amazing natural wonders out here for the entire family, great history and a lot of great recreation opportunities,” he notes.
And whether you want to splash around in a lake, be up in the snow, camp, hike, fish or photograph spectacular views, our state has something for you!
A lot of this has to do with Arizona’s dramatic changes in elevation and varied temperatures. “Arizona’s really diverse. There are so many choices—you could literally go skiing in the morning, be hiking in the afternoon and then enjoy a cabin by the lake in the evening,” Sliwa points out. And wildflowers are booming and blooming all over the state!
All sorts of wildlife is out and about these days, too.
Sliwa notes the connection between Earth Day and the mission of our State Parks & Trails. A big part of it is about STEWARDSHIP, how we care for, preserve and utilize our environment and natural resources so they’re around for future generations as well.
Arizona has “15 recreation parks around the state, which have a variety of different activities, including hiking trails,” Sliwa points out. East of Phoenix is Lost Dutchman State Park in Apache Junction. It offers fantastic hiking, gorgeous flowers and has lots of special events like star gazing.
Along I-10 is Picacho Peak State Park. “Right now it’s the #1 destination for seeing wildflowers around here,” Sliwa says.
Around Tucson there’s Catalina State Park with its hiking, biking, horseback riding, camping and other fun. And for water recreation, there’s Patagonia Lake and Roper Lake state parks, which also offer cabins to rent.
Be prepared! Sliwa says wear a hat, sunscreen and the right shoes, and bring plenty of water and pack food. ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings, he says.
For planning an outdoor adventure, start with the website: https:azstateparks.gov. In Phoenix, you can visit the Arizona Outdoor Recreation Center.