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Baseball Is Just Baseball": The Understated Ichiro: An Unauthorized Collection Compiled by David Shields

Shields, David

32 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0967870313 / ISBN 13: 9780967870311
Published by TNI Books, Seattle, WA, 2001
Condition: Very Good Soft cover
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Monroe Street Books
Middlebury, VT, U.S.A.

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About this Item

120 pages, SIGNED BY AUTHOR on title page. Spotless and tight copy. Record # 456252. Bookseller Inventory # 456252

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Baseball Is Just Baseball": The Understated ...

Publisher: TNI Books, Seattle, WA

Publication Date: 2001

Binding: Soft cover

Book Condition: Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: None

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


Ichiro Suzuki, the rookie All-Star right fielder for the Seattle Mariners, has the sports world transfixed. Author David Shields was at first entranced by Ichiro's smart, subtle play--just what the Mariners and Seattle needed. Then he was entranced by what Ichiro said--his smart, subtle words. The result is Baseball Is Just Baseball: The Understated Ichiro, a 120-page quote book of Ichiro in his own words. This selection of quotations takes the reader from Ichiro's decision to play for the Mariners to spring training to the regular season and up to the All-Star Break. It's a fan's book, a wisdom book, life-lessons for kids, for baseball fans, and for wisdom-seekers alike. Shields says that "Ichiro seems to me to 'get' life, to be in the groove, be in the moment, to have the secret. He mixes Zen distance with Zen focus. According to the Chinese aphorism, 'A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step'; Ichiro is very good at focusing on each step."
Experience reality rather than your expectation of reality. Believe in yourself. Don't take yourself seriously but find an activity to be passionate about and take that activity very seriously. Don't buy the hype. Dissolve hate into love. Care more about the process than the product. Find joy in the seeking itself. Such are some of the simple but profound, powerful ideas embodied in this prize of a little book--a document of not only a popular athlete but an impressive human being. In just the first half of his rookie year in the majors, Ichiro has fully captured the imagination of fans in Seattle, Japan, and everywhere. We've certainly not seen the end of his great run; as Ichiro himself said: "I'm planning to turn on the power after the All-Star break."


Anyone with even a passing interest in baseball can't help but look on in amazement at the 2001 Seattle Mariners. After losing heavy hitters Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez in back-to-back seasons, the Mariners have gone on to play "a new ... beautiful brand of team baseball." Mariners' rookie right fielder Ichiro Suzuki--who "like Madonna or Cher or Pelé, went only by his first name," as author David Shields writes in the introduction to his compilation Baseball Is Just Baseball: The Understated Ichiro--is the first Japanese position player to play in the majors.

There's an exhilarating fascination surrounding the young, sphinxlike All-Star and the global audience that tunes in to watch him snag home-runs-in-the-making from the sky. A fixture of baseball highlight reels, he's the first rookie ever to draw the most overall votes for the 2001 All-Star Game (held at Seattle's Safeco Field). Ichiromania even inspired fans to camp out overnight for a chance to claim a bobblehead doll cast in his likeness. Ichiro is much more than Japan's version of Michael Jordan--he's a cultural phenomenon (it's reported that Ichiro's the most recognizable person in Japan, with the emperor running a distant second).

Author David Shields is no stranger to the Seattle sports scene. He chronicled the 1994-95 season of the Seattle SuperSonics in his critically acclaimed book Black Planet: Facing Race During an NBA Season. Shields, too, was swept up by Ichiro's "smart, subtle play" and humble persona, and compiled this collection of Ichiro quotations. The slim volume is packed with elegant wisdom, unexpected observations, and a refreshing sense of optimism from No. 51. Shields wonders, "Was I trying to impart philosophic significance to simple athletic excellence? Maybe the words acquired a lyrical glamour as they got translated from Japanese to English?"

When Ichiro was asked to analyze a particularly acrobatic catch, he replies: "It was a fly ball; I caught it."

On why he hasn't gotten into any arguments with major league umpires: "So far nothing has bothered me."

Individually, Ichiro's "haunting aphorisms" possess the beautiful complexity of Zen koans; together they read like The Tao of Ichiro. --Brad Thomas Parsons

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