Even though it seems like a thousand years since the Mariners sustained a rally, the hottest thing in town right now looks to be one of our batsmen.
Dustin Ackley has been lights out so far in his ten games with the big ballclub. He’s batting over .300, he’s got a homer, two triples, and a double; he’s got 4 walks to 5 strikeouts. And, the thing everyone was “worried” about all this time: his defense has been superb. He’s been everything we’ve imagined and more. Our Second Baseman Of The Future has arrived!
The more I look at him, the more I see someone who’s destined to be under-appreciated. Sort of like Ichiro. A guy who’s not too flashy, who just goes out there and does his job, producing night-in and night-out. Fans and media types will always run out the “Shame On Us” line every so often when Ichiro’s doing particularly well. “Shame on us for taking Ichiro for granted! We should be celebrating him every day!” I’m sure I’ve been just as guilty of this as anyone, but it’s true. We SHOULDN’T take guys like Ichiro for granted. Because when they’re gone, you’re going to wish you’d savored them when you had the chance.
Of course, another reason why someone who’s constantly producing at a high level might be under-appreciated is because while he does a lot of things well, he doesn’t necessarily do anything mind-blowing.
The most impressive things about Ichiro are his durability and his speed; the fact that he’s had 200 hits every year is a testament to both. But, he rarely does anything that makes you stand up and say, “Wow!” Those moments are generally reserved for guys who hit dingers. You’d never say a guy like Ken Griffey Jr. went under-appreciated. In his prime, we’d appreciate him a good 50 times a year, minimum.
You’d be hard-pressed to tell me that Ackley is going to hit anywhere near that number of homers. He’ll hit just enough doubles and triples to remain interesting throughout his career (probably), but in the end I think Ackley is going to be just as overlooked as Ichiro. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, or with Ichiro. You can’t argue with guys who can flat-out hit; you CERTAINLY can’t argue with them if you’ve been following the Mariners for the last decade or so.
I’m just glad Ackley’s up here and seems to be acclimating himself well. Here’s to a long, under-appreciated career with the Seattle Mariners.