“When I first came, there were some people who thought I couldn’t even last a year,” Suzuki told one of the reporters seeking insight into the mind of a consummate hitter. “I’ve heard a lot of things. And here we are today, and you are asking me these kinds of questions. That is what I have pride in.”
Suzuki’s next opportunity to slice away at 3,000 comes in New York on Monday, when the Marlins open a three-game series against the Mets. If the former Mets manager Bobby Valentine had his way, Suzuki would have amassed all those hits for the Mets. But their lackluster posting fee was easily surpassed by Seattle, and Suzuki became a Mariner in late 2000.
When he first arrived at spring training in Arizona 2001, skeptics were everywhere. Suzuki started slowly, working methodically on specific tasks at the plate that resulted in a weak stream of ground balls to third base. Some scouts and people around baseball mocked him and wondered if the Mariners had made a grave mistake.
“They saw this guy from Japan who was small and said, ‘Who is this guy?’” Suzuki said.
He was about to make his debut as a 27-year-old rookie — three years older than any other…