The big news this morning, as actual baseball happens across the Pacific, is that today’s game in Japan is Ichiro’s last. The former ROY, MVP, 10x All-Star and 10x Gold Glove is retiring in front of a packed house in Tokyo. What a career.
One final goodbye for a legend.— ESPN (@espn) March 21, 2019
Ichiro tips his cap to the Tokyo crowd as he leaves his last MLB game. pic.twitter.com/2FgBfpmIV2
Ichiro exits in the 8th inning to a standing ovation in the Tokyo Dome.— MLB (@MLB) March 21, 2019
We are all Dee Gordon right now #Ichiro pic.twitter.com/bVEy2uOZ3E— Maury Brown (@BizballMaury) March 21, 2019
Ichiro and Dee Gordon. No bow...hug. pic.twitter.com/fbhUByNlsV— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 21, 2019
I can't describe in words on how Kikuchi is feeling right now. Ichiro paved way for players like him. pic.twitter.com/7F3TOWfF3g— Sung Min Kim (@sung_minkim) March 21, 2019
Ichiro and Kikuchi. pic.twitter.com/oeE9vATr2b— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 21, 2019
There has never been anyone like Ichiro. There will never be anyone like Ichiro. A truly singular figure who conquered two leagues, two countries and the hardest game in the world.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 21, 2019
Thank you, Ichiro. #MLB開幕戦 pic.twitter.com/yVv4KoTk8V— Cut4 (@Cut4) March 21, 2019
The Rays play twice today, and Matt Duffy is leading off game one in his second appearance this Spring has he continues to attempt a last second return from injury for Opening Day.
#Rays lineup vs. #Braves, with Duffy at 3B (first game since 2/28, second of spring): pic.twitter.com/UoFg8T3rq6— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) March 21, 2019
#Rays lineup vs. #RedSox tonight: pic.twitter.com/heLTYqI6MB— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) March 21, 2019
#Rays 3B Matt Duffy (hamstring) said he’s feeling about 90 percent healthy, knows the last 10 percent will “take awhile” before he can let loose and know he’s fully good.— Josh Tolentino (@JCTSports) March 21, 2019
The Times sat down with Sternberg for their annual, light hearted interview. This year’s revelation? Stu loves Hozier!
While the Rays' Quixotic quest for a new stadium has been wearing on him, Stuart Sternberg is still having a lot of fun. #Rays #RaysUp @RaysBaseball @tbtimes_rays @TB_Times https://t.co/6JaQy3uNu6— TampaBayTimesSports (@TBTimes_Sports) March 20, 2019
Juan Toribio answers the question you’re asking
Both sides are taking a risk, but agreeing to a long-term extension makes sense for Brandon Lowe and the #Rays: https://t.co/Qv5CEE0uEE— Juan Toribio (@juanctoribio) March 20, 2019
And Tommy Ramcel offers his analysis of the deal
Brandon Lowe’s huge extension with the #Rays a relatively safe gamble for both sides— The Athletic (@TheAthleticTB) March 21, 2019
Flexibility on defense and a recent power surge are two reasons Tampa has secured the 24-year-old for six years and $24 million, writes @TRancel: https://t.co/kfOyWwkMNs pic.twitter.com/dUo15ZhVrI
As did Eric Longenhagen for Fangraphs
If he becomes the type of player I expect him to be — Lowe has power, walks at an above-average clip, and plays several positions including a passable second base, all of which makes me think he’s a two to three win player — a $4 million average annual value would make Lowe a bargain for the Rays.
Vidal Brujan is finally in MLB Pipeline’s Top-100
Is that right?!?!? This is just the beginning. Started from the bottom... #RaysUp Esto solo es el comienzo. Empezamos desde abajo... Este cocolo está puesto. Vengo picantisimo, sin baja’le. https://t.co/71o22OpMXj— Vidal Brujan (@vidalbrujan) March 20, 2019
Josh Tolentino spoke with Brandon Lowe about the after glow of his $24-million guarantee
#Rays new $24 million man, IF/OF Brandon Lowe says it’s just another day at the ballpark at Port Charlotte. Says he received all sorts of nice text messages from friends and family after he signed extension with Tampa Bay. pic.twitter.com/h1qlw56lRU— Josh Tolentino (@JCTSports) March 21, 2019
The All Scott Boras Contract Team - Our own Brian Menendez took a deep dive into the world of Scott Boras to mine the greatest hits for The Hardball Times. It’s a fun ride, take a read!
Are the Yankees really adding the Opener?
The #Yankees had toyed with the idea of experimenting with the #Rays' "opener" blueprint all spring. Now, with their rotation limping to Opening Day, they're putting the strategy into motion. @TBTimes_Sports story: https://t.co/2feNOmWqwQ— Eduardo A. Encina (@EddieInTheYard) March 19, 2019
Fun Ichiro moment to re-live
I’ve written a couple books, done some investigative work I’m proud of, turned out plenty of long features and held people accountable in columns.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 21, 2019
But writing about Ichiro’s annual profane All-Star speech was the apex of my career, and I’m not sure it’s particularly close. https://t.co/Y33s1Z2Utm