43-Year-Old Ichiro Suzuki Wants To Play Until He's 50, Says When The Day Comes To Retire, 'I Think I'll Just Die'

Miami Marlins v Colorado Rockies

Ichiro Suzuki — Baseball Guy. The Miami Herald had this story on Ichiro yesterday, and it made me feel like the laziest piece of shit ever. I mean, the dude is 43 years old and he plans on playing until he’s FIFTY. And you know what? I actually believe him. After reading about the preparation that he puts into each season, how could you bet against him?

First of all, he doesn’t take vacations. Once the season ends, he immediately starts preparing for the next season. He hasn’t taken a vacation since 2004, which was just four years into his major league career. He said he worked out the entire time he was on vacation, but the vacation aspect of it messed up his workout routine for 2-3 weeks. After that, he was like fuck it. No more of that relaxation thing, and he’s been grinding ever since.

Ichiro doesn’t much care for down time, either. Every now and then, he’ll take a day trip to Cooperstown, New York, to check out the Hall of Fame. A frequent visitor, he wallows in the history of the sport, knows it inside and out. But that’s about it. His typical offseason — if it can be called that — hardly exists.

“Three or four days, tops,” said his translator, Allen Turner. Most players head home or travel the world to unwind the moment the season ends. But Ichiro is back in the cages, practicing his swing, within days after the last game has been played. “I’m telling you,” Turner said, “there’s nobody in the world that takes more swings over the course of a year than this guy. Guaranteed.”

The only vacations he takes are to Cooperstown to visit the Hall of Fame. Baseball Guy. And when he talked about wanting to play until he’s 50, it wasn’t just a number that he threw out there to aim high. He was dead serious. How serious? Like, has his own gym with specific equipment just for him that he uses instead of the Marlins gym serious.

Despite his age, Ichiro is in supreme physical condition. His workout regimen is legend. Like all teams, the Marlins have a weight room that players use to stay in shape. Ichiro has his own, a metal cargo container set up behind the clubhouse at the team’s spring training facility in Jupiter. It contains an assortment of machines he uses to keep fit. It’s its own tourist attraction. St. Louis Cardinals infielder Matt Carpenter wandered over a few days ago just so he could take a gander at it.

I feel like some of you are gonna fire off a “hardo” label here, but like…is that even fair? Me personally, I don’t think it’s called for. If this were somebody like Eric Byrnes in 2003, then I’d totally be all in on the “Just chill out, man” train, but it’s Ichiro. The guy’s a legend, and he clearly works his ass off to be as good as he has been for his entire career, and still works just as hard at the age of 43 as he did at the age of 18 when he started his professional baseball career in Japan. I’ll be lucky if I can do a single sit-up when I’m 43. And he still feels like he has SEVEN YEARS left in the tank.

Ichiro has no intention of stopping anytime soon, anytime before he turns 50. “Nobody knows what the future holds,” he said. “But the way I feel, how I’m thinking, I feel like nothing can stop me from doing it.” Why rest now? “When you retire from baseball, you have until the day you die to rest,” he said. And when the day finally comes to retire? “I think I’ll just die,” he said.

Little extreme, in my humble opinion. At least wait five years until your Hall of Fame induction to die if you’re that adamant about checking out once baseball is over. I mean, you’ve basically sacrificed your entire life to earn that recognition. Would seem a little odd if you opted for death immediately after retirement. You know what else is weird? If he actually does end up playing until he’s fifty, that means that if you were born the year that Ichiro started playing professional baseball, those babies will be 37-year-olds by the time he gets inducted into Cooperstown on the first ballot.