Mariners’ Julio Rodríguez shares advice Ichiro gave him that ‘clicked’

Mar 2, 2023, 12:50 AM
Mariners Julio Rodriguez, Ichiro...
Ichiro Suzuki receives flowers from Julio Rodriguez during a Mariners Hall of Fame ceremony on Aug. 27, 2022. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

It took just one year for young Mariners outfielder Julio Rodríguez to establish himself as an MLB superstar.

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If that sounds familiar, that’s because the same thing happened back in 2001 with Ichiro Suzuki.

Rodríguez, now 22, burst onto the scene last year to win American League Rookie of the Year honors. He also made the All-Star Game, finishing second in the Home Run Derby and leading the Mariners to their first playoff appearance since Ichiro’s rookie campaign more than two decades before.

With superstardom comes extra attention, which Rodríguez is certainly getting as the face of Topps baseball cards for the start of 2023. Rodríguez has a Mariners legend to lean on in Ichiro, however, who became an international sensation himself with the M’s when he won Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same season. Ichiro is still around the team regularly, and during an appearance with Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk, Rodríguez shared a key thing he’s learned from Ichiro when it comes to handling stardom.

Here’s the quote from Rodríguez:

I talked to Ichiro about it. I was curious and I asked the question, and he basically said something along the lines of, ‘People might look at you different, but you can never look at yourself different.’ Whenever he told me that, it kind of clicked in my head, like, OK, whoever wants to see me different because of what I’m doing on the field or what I’m doing off the field or whatever, that’s their deal. And the way that I look at myself and the way that I go about my work, and the way that I go about my practice, about my preparation and all that, that’s my deal, that’s my choice, and that cannot be impacted by anybody or by any other way that people are looking at me.

So I feel like whenever he said that, it kind of struck me as OK, people’s perspective about me can change and they can look at me different, but what I see from myself and where I want to go can never change. That’s something that I’ve really taken to heart and I’m gonna keep living by.

Listen to the full interview with Rodríguez at this link, in the audio player below or in the video above.

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