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A Long Overdue Tribute to Raul Ibanez

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Raul Ibanez Mariners.jpg
“Raul Ibanez Mariners” by Flickr user Fall Line – . Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Commons.

‘If you wait by the river long enough, the bodies of your enemies will float by.’- Sun Tzu

Raul Ibanez hasn’t officially retired, but it looks like he’s done.

I remember once in the 2000 season, the founding members of LGM were watching at a Mariners game from the left field bleachers. For whatever reason, Lou Piniella had expressed an inordinate confidence in the abilities of Raul Ibanez, who seemed very much the prototypical 4A player. Piniella inserted Ibanez as a pinch hitter at what seemed to us an unreasonable point, producing a long, angry, and by recollection somewhat vulgar series of taunts by your hosts.

Ibanez immediately doubled off the left field wall. The people seated in our vicinity mocked us. It was neither the first, nor the last, time that we would legitimately be made the objects of fun.

From that point Raul (his intro song at Safeco was Werewolves of London) would move on to Kansas City, then back to the Mariners, and play at a remarkably consistent level, much higher than any of us had imagined possible. There is nothing stunning about his success; he amassed only a bit more than 20 WAR over his career, but that’s an honorable achievement for a major league ballplayer. Even in his late years he contributed some remarkable moments, including the 2012 playoff run with the Yankees.

Along the way Ibanez has earned a reputation for being a genuinely nice guy, both to the fans and to his fellow players. I hope he enjoys good luck with his managerial ambitions.

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