While Ichiro was very much still a fan favorite in Seattle, his aging body and declining numbers didn't seem to mesh well with the young nucleus of players getting playing time in a rebuilding effort.
It appeared as though Ichiro would be a Mariner throughout his entire career, but every player wants to feel important and experience the success of winning, even more so after an entire decade of mediocre team success.
Playing for the Yankees has not only helped Ichiro get back in the spotlight, but he's also making a difference on the field.
In 67 regular-season games with the Yankees, Ichiro hit .322, far better than his un-Ichiro-like .261 through 95 games with the Mariners.
During the Yankees' division-winning push in September, Ichiro compiled a batting average of .385, the best he's hit over the course of a month since he hit .407 in June of 2009.
One factor may have been the much less spacious Yankee Stadium. Though he isn't a power hitter, he did hit five of his nine home runs this season out of Yankee Stadium.
Another factor was the fact that he was about to go to the postseason for the first time since his rookie season of 2001. Joining a winning club after all those years had to have been refreshing, and it may have reignited Ichiro's competitive fire.
At 38, Ichiro's back in the playoffs and playing like he's back in his prime. He's 3-for-10 with two runs scored and two RBI in New York's first two playoff games, and even caught the attention of the sports world with this slide into home in Game 2 against the Baltimore Orioles.
He's beating out choppers to second base and spraying the ball all over the field just as he once did for the Mariners. And even though now he's on the Yankees of all teams, it brings a smile to the face of Mariners fans to watch Ichiro succeed once again.
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