Ichiro: The Postgame Interview

After his 3-for-3 MVP performance in the 2007 MLB All-Star Game (including the first inside-the-park home run in All-Star Game history), Mariners center fielder Ichiro Suzuki had a lot to say - and fortunately, not all of it to Jeanne Zelasko!

Q. Could you just take us through your inside the park home run from when it left the bat to going around the bases, the whole thing, please?

ICHIRO SUZUKI: I thought it was going to go over the fence and when it didn't, I was really bummed.

Q. We know you haven't hit an inside the park home run here in America. Have you hit one in Japan, and could you take us through what that was, when it was?

ICHIRO SUZUKI: I never hit one.

Q. In this one game, you basically equalled your entire previous All-Star performance combined; was this really fun for you?

ICHIRO SUZUKI: It's one that I'll never forget. The past six years, I never had an All-Star that I really thought I gave it my all or was able to give it my all. So, I'm really happy. It was a fun All-Star Game.

Q. Had you ever been here before; had you ever hit in AT&T park before?

ICHIRO SUZUKI: Many during practice. We actually haven't played too many games here. We've had two exhibition games here, but never during the regular season here.

Q. If you concentrated on hitting for power, how many home runs do you think you could hit?

ICHIRO SUZUKI: Tough question. If I'm allowed to bat .220, I could probably hit 40. (Laughter.) But nobody wants that.

Q. As someone who appreciates baseball history, what did it mean to you to be out there when Mays came out there on the field before the game?

ICHIRO SUZUKI: To be able to be on the same field that he was at that moment is something I'll never forget for the rest of my life. But I know this is something that's impossible, but I wish I was able to watch Mr. Willie Mays play once.

Q. Are you committed now to remain in Seattle for the long term?

ICHIRO SUZUKI: You'll find out sometime. (Laughter.)

Q. When you arrived in America, there were still a limited number of Japanese players and it was a novelty when you were here. But today there were three Japanese players on the All-Star roster; what has changed on the American landscape to make that happen, the baseball landscape?

ICHIRO SUZUKI: I think the rules, I think now you need to get permission before to be able to come over here. And if a player is tied down by those rules, a player is not able to come over here.
I think those rules have changed now to make it easier for Japanese players to come here. I think always Japan has had a high level of baseball, so I think that has not changed. I think what has changed is the rules.

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