Ichiro Suzuki collected a couple more hits last night, putting him one up on Pete Rose lifetime. And so now, this being baseball and all, the debate begins.
Is Ichiro or is he not the new Hit King?
If he is, Pete's gonna have to find a new home for all his Hit King hats and such, and maybe he can't hustle his name as lucratively as he's been doing it all these years. And if he's not, well, no worries, then. Go on with your lives, citizens.
At issue are the 1,275 hits Ichiro collected in Japan before coming to the U.S. Pete says they don't count, on account of, you know, Japan. Not the same as the Major Leagues, he says. Says the next thing you know, they'll be counting Ichiro's high school hits.
Here's what I think: I think there's a lot of evidence to suggest baseball in Japan isn't much different than baseball here, at least in this day and age. I also think baseball in Japan in this day and age maybe isn't what it was when Ichiro played there.
Pete is right when he points out that guys who weren't stars in the majors have gone to Japan and become stars. But it's equally true that guys who were stars in Japan have come to the majors and continued to be stars.
Ichiro, for instance. Hideki Matsui. Yu Darvish. Others.
And so the Blob's opinion is that, while Japanese professional baseball might not be the same as the Show (or at least didn't used to be), it's not high school ball, either. And I don't recall seeing anything that stipulates that all of a player's professional hits have to come in MLB or they don't count. So, yes, Ichiro is the new Hit King.
At least, you know, technically.