It’s a safe bet that when something involves Ichiro and Adrian Gonzalez, I’m going to be interested.
As Gordon Edes reported today, Gonzalez looked to the zen of hitting for inspiration after going 0-for-3 in his first three at-bats against Yankees ace C.C. Sabathia. From Edes:
Giddiness becomes the order of the day when Gonzalez tells manager Terry Francona that he plans to swing like Ichiro on his fourth at-bat against Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia, who had handled him with ease to that point, then hits a three-run home run into the right-field seats.
“He said he was going to have a little bit of Ichiro in him, a little bit of a leap,’’ Francona said. ‘’He said, ‘Do you have a problem with that?’ I said, ‘Not if you get a hit.’ ’’
Gonzalez, of course, took Sabathia deep for a three-run home run that Saturday night. And in watching the animation above, it looks like he’s as close to the swing as his bulkier frame will allow.
To say that Gonzalez has been a welcome addition to Boston would be a dramatic understatement. The quiet, efficient first baseman has been a hitting machine, leading the team in OPS (.951), batting average (.322), home runs (9), doubles (14) and all of baseball in RBI (37). He’s done it all with a smooth, effortless swing that reminds me of Will Clark in his glorious San Francisco days.
The point of this being, I was already a fan. Knowing that he’s talented enough to mimic the mighty Ichiro just puts him over the top.
Whatever happens to the Red Sox from here on out (and as of this writing, they’re 22-20 and only 2½ games out of first place), it’s safe to say that watching this guy hit for the next decade is going to be a blast, whether he’s hitting like himself or a certain Japanese spray hitter.
(The animated gif comes from Rob Neyer at Baseball Nation.)