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Mariners fans: Enjoy Ichiro’s return for what it is, while it lasts

Tom Wassell warns that watching Ichiro back with the Mariners is going to feel different. (AP)

The news that Ichiro Suzuki has returned to the Mariners will allow us all to take a look at old memories and hopefully make some new ones with one of the most important athletes in the history of this city.

But beware.

Drayer: Day 1 of Ichiro’s return looks familiar

Ichiro exists in our history as a Seattle hero. That’s not likely to change, but what happens once he goes 0-for-the-week at the plate, gets caught stealing, or can’t quite track down that fly ball that he once could? He’s older. We’re older. A generation of fans have come of age since he last played at an All-Star level. Watching him on the field is going to feel different.

Hopefully he has at least one moment similar to what Ken Griffey Jr. provided in June 2009 during his second stint with Seattle.

Another one of those would be nice, but let’s not depend on it.

The logical fans will (rightly) be reminding us that Ichiro has been brought here as a quick solution to a problem. An oblique injury to Ben Gamel has left a hole in the wall, and instead of repainting the entire wall, general manager Jerry Dipoto is just spackling it. That’s what Ichiro is at this point in his career – spackle.

Ichiro is like an old friend for Mariners fans. The great thing about meeting up with old friends is that most of the time you end up spending the entire occasion just laughing, enjoying each other’s company for however long it may last. That’s probably the best we can do at the moment.

Ichiro might not even make it out of April as a member of this team. Then again, he may prove to be the bench player that gets a ton of hits in key situations, helping to propel the team into the playoffs for the first time since his rookie season. Either way, let’s try to accept him for what he is now, rather than be disappointed that he isn’t what he once was.

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