One of the most baffling things I’ve ever heard in my time as a baseball fan is this common belief that Ichiro could “hit more home runs if he wanted to.”
Don’t tell me you haven’t heard that before. I’ve heard that a MILLION times, and people have been saying that for years because he hits a ton of home runs during batting practice. What the fuck does that even mean? Like, if Ichiro wanted to, he could hit 30+ home runs in a season, but he doesn’t because infield singles are way more conducive to a team winning a game? What? I understand there’s a difference in swings when it comes to home run-hitting power hitters and contact guys like Ichiro, but if you are physically able and talented enough to hit more home runs, why would you choose not to? I never understood that.
Anyway, Barry Bonds is believing the batting practice hype, as he claimed that Ichiro could “easily” win the Home Run Derby.
“He hits more home runs than anyone in batting practice … every day,” Bonds said. “I said, ‘You know what? You got to stop hitting all of these home runs.’ He said, ‘Why?’ I said, ‘Because you’re wasting them all in practice. We want you to hit a home run in a game.’
“I think he hits all of his home runs in batting practice so he can get all his hits.”
“I would think he’d win [the Home Run Derby]. Easy, hands down,” Bonds said.
You know what? I bet he could. For all the shit I just talked about how he could hit more home runs if he wanted to, batting practice is a different story apparently, and that’s all the Home Run Derby is, anyway. It’s batting practice in front of a sold out crowd. If, at age 42, Ichiro is out-homering a team with Giancarlo Stanton on a daily basis in batting practice, then yeah, I’d say he’d be a pretty popular bet to win the Home Run Derby.
But even if he did enter and win, wouldn’t that just piss fans off even more that he never tried to hit home runs in actual games? Just seems so weird to me.