Baseball Says Goodbye to Ichiro, Edwards Did Some Plunking, Descalso's Swing, and Other Bullets

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Baseball Says Goodbye to Ichiro, Edwards Did Some Plunking, Descalso’s Swing, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Ichiro is retiring. That might not be much of a surprise for your typical 37-year-old player or 40-year-old player or 43-year-old player, much less the 45-year-old player he is now. But, for a man who once said he thinks he would just die rather than retire, Ichiro has decided retirement is preferable.

With his Mariners playing in the opening series in Tokyo, Japan, Ichiro suited up for the first couple games, and then, today, announced he was retiring. His departure from the sport leaves a hole that few others could hope to fill down the road – the talent, the skill set, the cross-cultural connections – and his send off was fittingly emotional.

Things to enjoy and/or well up about, and I swear I’m trying to limit myself …

https://twitter.com/MLB/status/1108716757789958144/

(Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images)
  • Pretty much impossible to transition away from all that, but I gotta drop in at least a few Cubs things. Like Carl Edwards Jr. admitting he plunked a minor league Mariner because the team of minor league Mariners the Cubs faced the other day (remember, the big boys are in Japan) hit Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras:

  • The *teammate* aspect of this, I love. Of course I do. You want to see that bond. But the judgment? Eh. I mean, it’s a couple minor league pitchers who had zero, zero, zero intention to go in there and plunk the big league stars they were probably thrilled and terrified to face. It sucks that it happens, sure, but to retaliate for it? Wha? That makes no sense, and I hope someone gets in Edwards’ ear with a, “Hey man, totally love and appreciate the support, but that was probably a bit much.”
  • Also, wonder if he’s gonna hear from the Commissioner’s office on that one – they don’t care for retaliation. Good on Carl for being honest, though.
  • Daniel Descalso – one of history’s greatest hitters – describes the adjustment he made over the last couple years, becoming one of the notable breakouts of the launch angle revolution (Cubs.com): I felt like there was more in the tank, and I was just having trouble unlocking it. I’ve just always watched a lot of video of how other guys did stuff and scoured the internet for things. The thing that really clicked for me was getting on-plane early. The pitch is coming from a down angle, so if I swing down on it, then my bat and the ball intersect for only a short amount of time. Whereas, if I’m on plane a little bit underneath, now my margin for error is wider, because my bat’s in the zone a little longer. I don’t have to be as precise. That made a lot of sense to me.” Descalso is now 32, so his window to take advantage of a new offensive ability (if it’s legit) is going to be short. But it’s not as if a number of guys in recent years haven’t taken their offensive game to fundamentally different levels even in their 30s.
  • See if you can figure out when Descalso revamped his swing:



Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.