Ichiro Suzuki may be one of the most interesting men in baseball. A character on and off the field, he's completely unorthodox in his approach to life and the game and his epic story just took a hilarious turn with news he snuck onto the Seattle Mariners dugout dressed in a grey hoodie and massive mustache just to get a closer look at the game and a team he's now an executive for since hanging up his cleats.
In much the same way Bobby Valentine did back in 1999, Suzuki put on a disguise snuck into the dugout of Thursday's game against the Yankees and disappeared again before he could get in trouble from MLB who has rules about his being on the bench during the game. Valentine texted to the Associated Press, "He was perfect. I never would have known it was him."
Suzuki, the 44-year-old former outfielder left the Mariners active roster in May and moved into the front office as a special assistant. But, since May, insiders have speculated his absence wouldn't be permanent as he's been taking part in pregame drills and batting practice. Those things are allowed. Being on the bench during the game is not.
AP photographer Bill Kostroun caught a snapshot of Suzuki wearing the most ridiculous outfit including a fake mustache, sunglasses, and a grey hoodie. He was on the bench during the first inning as his former team, the Yankees, were at bat. He was gone by the second inning and did not return.
If fans were paying attention, perhaps they should have seen this coming. Suzuki has said that despite leaving the team, he would prepare the same way he always did and might do something silly like dress up and show up when people least expect it. He said, "But I can't say for certain that maybe I won't put on a beard and glasses and be like Bobby Valentine and be in the dugout."
It will be interesting to see if MLB levies and fine or suspension as they did to Valentine when he was hit with two games and a fine of $5,000.