“I do not have the dog’s permission.”

How do you write a colorful story? Yes, it helps if you have a colorful subject. And to judge from Claire McNear’s wonderful article in The Ringer, baseball player Ichiro Suzuki is not just one of the few players to enter the 3,000-hit club; he’s also our generation’s Yogi Berra, if Yogi Berra had spoken only through a translator (it might have helped) except when cussing a blue streak.

The quote in the headline here comes from a 2001 press conference in which

…Ichiro said he could not reveal the name of his dog. (The dog must eventually have relented: His name was Ikky.) He also credited his dog with convincing him to stay in Seattle: “He said, ‘Woof, woof, woof,’ which meant, ‘Stay, stay, stay,’ Of course, I listened.”

Clearly Ikky speaks a different language than my Fenway. When Fenway says, “Woof, woof, woof” it generally means, “Dammit, ma! They’re walking that dog next door again.” Then again, she’s never been to Seattle. It’s nice there; I can see why Ikky likes it.

Cleveland, though. Let’s just say the Chamber of Commerce will not be hiring Ichiro anytime soon:

“To tell the truth, I’m not excited to go to Cleveland, but we have to. If I ever saw myself saying I’m excited going to Cleveland, I’d punch myself in the face, because I’m lying.” (2007)

Does baseball attract a larger proportion of colorful characters than other sports? It’s hard to imagine a golfer dissing a location—even Cleveland. And if a football player said his dog’s bark meant don’t accept a trade, he’d probably win a trip to the nearest MRI to check for head trauma.

Fenway Mets

Thanks to Claire McNear for giving me yet another reason to love this crazy game. Or, as Fenway says,

“Woof.”

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