Seattle’s only true superstar pro athlete is Ichiro of the Seattle Mariners. This guy, who’s Japanese, is a remarkable, ultra-gifted, baseball player and quite possibly one of the best players in the major league now. He’s the best Asian baseball player/athlete ever and he’s probably the most recognized person in all of Asian sports other than William Hung.
Having said that, here’s my problem with Ichiro – the guy is really boring…outside of baseball. On the field, he’s like a baseball machine with an amazing arm, speed, and sick hitting skills. But off the field, the guy is as boring as CSpan. Why does this bother me so much?
Here’s a rare opportunity for an Asian figure like him to be in the spolight, in the media, and up the Asian male image in the media – basically make the Asian man look good. He’s a good looking guy and if he just did more, said more, and partied more, he’d be like a rock star in the U.S. He takes like a zen-approach to baseball, almost spiritual yet cerebral, and he appears to care about nothing except baseball. He’s boring! He doesn’t do shit outside of baseball. He doesn’t do endorsements, does not go to Hollywood parties, does not attend ESPY Awards, does not party with other stars and celebrities, and basically carries a very intense private life. I’m not talking about his activities in Japan or even Asia, but I’m talking about in the U.S. where there are millions of ignorant white people who think we all look and act like Long Duck Dong. The point is, Ichiro makes the Asian man look good. Or could. But it’s having the reverse effect. Ichiro makes us look boring, straight and narrow, shy, quiet, reserved, passive, and serious. Asian guys can’t party like rock stars, we can’t date supermodels, and we don’t just let loose and have fun. He doesn’t do Nike commercials and rarely does magazine photo shoots. He just plays ball. He needs to sell out just a little bit to gain media exposure. I mean, I can respect his decisions to focus purely on baseball and nothing else but at least learn some English! He is the only well known Asian male figure in pop culture who can represent all the positives rather than all those negative Asian stereotypes. White people in rural towns in Kansas can see him and think, “Wow, Asian guys can be talented, good looking, and cool rather than be short, nerdy, and asexual.” If I was him, I’d be dating Megan Fox, partying in Vegas with rockstars, and breaking hitting records in the majors.