Thursday, February 26, 2015

How Psychic Is Kevin Kernan?

I've repeatedly said that Kevin Kernan is the worst baseball writer that the New York papers have to offer, and one of his columns from this week supports that opinion.

Let's break down his story from Wednesday, FireJoeMorgan-style:

Why Ichiro is glad to be a Marlin -- and away from Joe Girardi

Hmm, catchy headline. I wonder what nasty names Ichiro called Girardi.

Jupiter, Fla. --

Yes, the Post actually pays Kernan to travel to Spring Training.

Ichiro Suzuki is a proud man. At the age of 41, he is looking for a fresh start with a young, exciting team.

He could have written "the only team that was willing to pay him $2 million" instead of "a young, exciting team." Kernan's doing okay so far, though.

Don't count the old man out.

I won't count Ichiro out, but his on-base percentages of .297 and .324 from the last two seasons make it a little difficult.

A smiling Ichiro went through his first official workout with Miami on Tuesday. He is thrilled to be a Marlin, and although Ichiro will not say it, for he is much too polite and professional, he is happy to be away from Joe Girardi as his manager.

So the writer knows what Ichiro is thinking, even though the player never said it. Kevin "Miss Cleo" Kernan, everybody!

Ichiro was sometimes perplexed by the way he was used by Girardi. Hard lessons were learned in his time with the Yankees. Ichiro said he grew as a person.

Was Ichiro perplexed by the way he was used or did he learn and grow? Now I'm perplexed.

"The experiences that I was able to go through," a thoughtful Ichiro told The Post through interpreter Allen Turner in a hallway outside the visiting clubhouse of Roger Dean Stadium, "things that I couldn't do anything about, a lot of things happened, and I just had to deal with it and be able to move forward." 

Ichiro hasn't really said much, right? Well, believe it or not, we're in the middle of the meatiest quote of the entire article.

“It was a great lesson for me to learn and I was able to go through that. If things happened that you couldn’t control and didn’t like, if you let that affect you and cut things off emotionally and mentally, you can’t do that, you’ve got to keep going.

Allen Turner wasn't the only interpreter in the hallway outside the visiting clubhouse. Kevin Kernan was there to translate, as well. He translated that generic quote from Ichiro into: "I hated Joe Girardi and he ruined my time with the Yankees." No wonder Kernan gets paid the big bucks.

"That was something I had to overcome."

My high school English teacher always warned us against using unspecific words like "thing" in our writing and speaking. By my count, Ichiro uttered the Japanese equivalent of the word "thing" five times in the previous three paragraphs. He was probably trying to be unspecific because, as Kernan pointed out, he's a polite guy. Thank goodness we had Kernan there to translate "thing" into more descriptive phrases like "hatred of Manager Girardi."

By the way, as of this point in the article, Ichiro still hasn't verbalized the word "Girardi" or "manager". I'm sure he'll get there, though.

Ichiro overcame it and earned another major league contract for $2 million with the Marlins, batting .284 with the Yankees last season over 359 at-bats with a .324 on-base percentage. The Marlins have treated him warmly, he said, in every way.

I asked Ichiro if he has had any recent contact with Girardi. He laughed and chided me — ever so politely — for the question.

No quote? How did he chide you, Kevin? Oh, ever so politely. I see.

This article includes more editorializing than the typical Page Six column.

Yes, Ichiro has moved on — along with his 4,122 hits over the course of his career in Japan and the majors. Ichiro needs 156 hits to reach 3,000 major league hits. Pete Rose is the majors all-time hit leader with 4,256.

Nice history lesson.

Ichiro collected his 3,999th hit of his combined career on Aug. 20, 2013, at Yankee Stadium in the first game of a doubleheader against the Blue Jays.

Ichiro was hoping to play in that second game to reach the milestone and get the moment out of the way, but was only used as a pinch runner in that game.

“That was difficult,’’ a friend of Ichiro’s said.

Oooh, an anonymous source. And what a quote! This story is really getting juicy.

Move on. Ichiro collected a single his first at-bat in the next game to reach 4,000 hits. There were other moves like the time Austin Romine, batting .138, replaced Ichiro in the order late in a game the Yankees were losing by one run, even though Ichiro was the Yankees’ hottest hitter at the time and had three hits in the game — including a home run his previous at-bat. But Ichiro moved on, saying at the time, “As a player you just have to accept it.’’

If Kevin Kernan is ordering me to move on, I guess I will. Let's talk about the game in question. In a 2013 loss to the Rangers, Ichiro was pulled in a double-switch. For the record, Ichiro's lineup spot never even came up again after he was removed. If that's the game Kernan is talking about, he's really reaching. Here's what Ichiro said after that game (per the article linked above):

“I understand the reason. I’m not going to ask [Girardi] why, or I don’t think he needs to explain to me,” Suzuki said through an interpreter. “We’re all big leaguers here and we understand the game, so I understand the reason why that was needed.”

In Kernan's defense, Ichiro didn't use Girardi's name in that quote, either. I guess he hated the manager back then, too. Again, I'm glad "The Amazing Kevskin" Kernan is here.

Last year, as Ichiro pointed out, he was the Yankees’ fifth outfielder, so he said he has no problem being the fourth outfielder for the Marlins’ terrific young outfield that features superstar Giancarlo Stanton, 25, Christian Yelich, 23, and Marcell Ozuna, 24.

There were times Girardi last season used minor league journeymen Zelous Wheeler and Antoan Richardson ahead of Ichiro.

You mean when Girardi decided to give meaningless late-season at-bats to the 27-year-old Wheeler and the 30-year-old Richardson instead of the 40-year-old Ichiro? How dare he.

Ichiro accepted the good times and bad times and found a way to continue his career.

Through it all, Ichiro deeply respects the game and the history of baseball so much that he said he will donate his personal collection to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

Very nice of Ichiro. How is that connected to the rest of the article, though?

There is still some playing to do.

Very pithy. Kernan reminds me of Ernest Hemingway here.

“I’m very excited,’’ Ichiro said of the Marlins, a team Stanton labeled Tuesday as a playoff team.

“Everybody is treating me like I’m really old,” Ichiro said in his press conference. “But please put me in that group of young guys. I feel young and want to be included in that group.

Kernan should have written, "I feel young and want to be included in that group [and I also fuckin' hate Joe Girardi]." By the way, still no verbal references to Girardi. Good thing Kernan read Ichiro's mind.

“I’m 41. I obviously don’t know what my role is right now. I’ll go through camp and find that out. Hopefully it won’t look like I’m using a bat as a cane.”

The Marlins are betting Ichiro will continue to find a way to swing that bat.

Powerful ending. Unlike the month of March, that article came in like a lion and went out like a lion, too.

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