MLB Opener: Mariners Triumph As Ichiro Suzuki Excels

The MLB opener on Wednesday night saw the Seattle Mariners beat the Oakland Athletics 3-1 in 11 innings, thanks in no small part to the excellence of Ichiro Suzuki.

In front of a capacity crowd of 44,227 in the Tokyo Dome, local boy Suzuki got four hits, with cameras going off everywhere in the stadium each time he came to bat. As he took his position in right field in the final innings, the crowd rose to give Suzuki a standing ovation.

After the game, Suzuki, who played in Osaka with the Orix Blue Wave for close to a decade, reflected:

“It was very special to open in Japan. I wanted to have fun and give the fans something at this special time and wanted to share a special moment with them. The festivities for opening day were awesome, the detail, the time they put into it. I loved every minute of it. I love being in Japan.”

This was the fourth time in history that the MLB opener had appeared in Japan, and it seems the travel didn’t help the A’s – they are now the first team to lose eight straight openers.

Many would-be viewers of the game were also left distressed, as the game began at 6.09am EDT and was screened live only to the Seattle and Oakland markets. The MLB Network carried the game on delay, broadcasting from 9am. By that time, the real thing was already in extra innings.

Frustrated Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez told Associated Press:

“I got here at 5:15 in the morning and went in to turn on the game and couldn’t find it anywhere. I tried everything, MLB, ESPN, and I still don’t know who won. I got here early to check it.”

Did you catch the game, and what did you make of the Mariners’ storming start to the season?

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