When you think of Japanese baseball players, you think of respect for the game and that is certainly true of the Japanese “Hit King” Ichiro Suzuki. On this date in 2009, Ichiro earned the only ejection in his illustrious professional career by doing what is an absolutely taboo act. He showed up a Major League umpire.
Umpire Brian Runge had every right to toss the outfielder. Ichiro took three called strikes, and took special offense to the last one which he thought was outside. Ichiro drew a line in the batter’s box where he believed the last pitch was. Umpires cannot stand to be shown up and doing so will always earn you an immediate ejection. No questions asked.
To be ejected for the first time in your professional career by simply drawing a line in the dirt sums up baseball. There are certain guidelines and things that can be said and not said. Showing up another player, coach or umpire is not allowed in the game as it shouldn’t be allowed in life. Intense fiery reactions in which a player throws a few choice words at an umpire is allowed to a certain degree, but to attempt to make another person look foolish is shunned.
This ejection shows that any player can have a bad day or at-bat. Even the most professional of players can let emotions get in their head. Baseball is an absolute mental game. You must keep your opinions and emotions in check in order to succeed. In 2,348 Major League games, Ichiro had no problem holding everything in, but six years ago today he boiled over and fully earned his one and only ejection.