Mariners kick off 'Ichiro Weekend' with the most wholesome surprise for 'Ichiro Girl'
The Seattle Mariners know how to get in the spirit of "Ichiro Weekend."
With Ichiro Suzuki slated to enter the Mariners' Hall of Fame on Saturday, the team made a whole weekend out of the occasion and started it on Friday by bringing back one of their most famous fans, "Ichiro Girl," a.k.a. Iris Skinner.
Skinner found viral fame in 2010 during a game against the New York Yankees, when Suzuki accidentally struck her in the face while trying to catch a foul ball in the right-field stands. A concerned Suzuki took a moment to make sure Skinner was OK before jogging away, but that was enough to make her look like the happiest human being on the face of the earth.
Fast forward 12 years and the Mariners invited Skinner to throw out the first pitch of Friday's game against the Cleveland Guardians. They just didn't tell her one thing: Suzuki would be catching.
As you might expect, Skinner was quite thrilled, and it all made for one of the most wholesome videos you will ever see from a baseball team:
“Ichiro Girl” reuniting with Ichiro is the most wholesome thing we’ve ever seen pic.twitter.com/vrM41SHLaB
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) August 27, 2022
Let's go ahead and freeze-frame that.
Yup, pure happiness.
The festivities continued into Saturday, when Suzuki again appeared, this time in a full suit to officially enter the Mariners Hall of Fame. The 48-year-old delivered a 16-minute speech to the T-Mobile Park crowd.
“Even though I retired as an active player, baseball and Seattle have never left my heart,” Ichiro said. “Baseball will forever be my soul, and my mission is to keep helping both players and fans appreciate this special game.”
Suzuki, who still works for the Mariners as a special assistant to the chairman and outfield coach, is eligible for the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2025, at which point the Mariners are expected to retire his number. We'll see if the Mariners bring Skinner back for that as well.