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Let's discuss Ichiro's retirement

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JIJI

Baseball star Ichiro Suzuki’s retirement announcement on March 21 shocked fans and friends across the country, who say they admire his achievements.

“He is my hero. I began playing baseball because I wanted to be like him,” said Mitsuaki Kadoya, 29, who came to watch the Seattle Mariners’ game against the Oakland Athletics at Tokyo Dome. “I wanted him to play longer. But now I feel like praising his longtime work.”

The news of the 45-year-old player’s retirement broke during the game and most of the spectators learned of it through their smartphones. One of them raised a board with the message “Thank you Ichiro.”

“I’m shocked, as I expected he would play until he turned 50,” said another fan, Misao Ishikawa, 69. “I always watched him on television. I’m really happy that I was able to see him (at the stadium).”

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Friday that Ichiro is “very much a superstar who has kept giving dreams and hopes to many children and baseball fans.”

“I’d like to pay respect to his career and achievements, and express thanks for his great work,” he added.

Asked whether the government will consider giving him the People’s Honor Award, Suga said, “We understand well that many people hope for him to be given (the award), but nothing has been decided so far.”

Koji Okumura, 46, who was a member of the team’s staff when Ichiro played for Japan’s then Orix BlueWave, said, “It’s really regrettable. But I want to thank him. I learned a lot from him.”

Okumura added, “I want him to be a manager of a major league team.”

Takeshi Nakamura, 76, who taught Ichiro on the baseball team of Aikodai Meiden High School in Aichi Prefecture, said, “I hope he will pass on his experience to the next generations as a coach.”

Published in The Japan Times on March. 22.

Warm up

One minute chat about your hero.

Game

Collect words related to baseball, e.g., umpire, home run, pitcher, strike

New words

1) praise: express warm admiration, e.g., “My boss praised the work I did this year.”

2) spectator: someone who watches a game, show or other event, e.g., “I can’t play football so I’m just happy being a spectator.”

Guess the headline

Fans, friends express s_ _ _ _ _ _ _ at baseball star Ichiro’s r_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Questions

1) What was the reaction to Ichiro’s retirement?

2) How did some fans learn about the retirement?

Let’s discuss the article

1) What do you think of Ichiro?

2) What do you think Ichiro will do next?

3) Who’s your favorite athlete?

Reference

日本の野球界のみならず世界の野球界にその名と功績を刻んだレジェンドが引退を決めました。

その幕引きを、ファンはもちろんのこと、その背中を追いかけてきた次世代の選手たちも惜しみましたが、同時に引退の時まで長きにわたり第一線で活躍してきた姿に功績をたたえる声が世界中から上がっています。

様々な形で多くの人々に影響を与えたであろうスター選手は、プレイヤーから退いた後も新たな活躍が期待されているようです。

これからの野球界、そして引退後のイチロー選手はどんな活躍を見せてくれるのでしょうか?朝の会に参加し皆さんで話し合ってみましょう。

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