Last summer, after Ichiro gave the American League All-Stars yet another nasty, foul-mouthed, delivered-in-English pep talk, we imagined the diminutive outfielder as The Chappelle Show's Silky Johnston (aka the Player Hater of the Year), training his acerbic wit on his disappointing teammates. This week, he's taken on the role of a new Chappelle character.
Fans of the show surely recall Chappelle's portrayals of the late Rick James, a character who delighted in non-sequitur insults and physical assaults of all he encountered--especially Charlie Murphy. Whenever Murphy would encounter James at a social gathering, James would--for no reason--assault and insult him, then laugh uncontrollably, declaring "I'm Rick James, bitch!" He also messed up Charlie's brother Eddie Murphy's house, stomping his muddy shoes all over the couch and carpet.
When Red Sox All-Star outfielder Jason Bay ran into Ichiro in the locker room of this year's game in St. Louis, he got a similar treatment--minus the physical assault. Writes Bay:
Locker room completely empty except Ichiro stretching on the floor and his translator sitting on the chair beside him. Sow we make small talk, and I ask him where he lives in Seattle because I lived in the suburbs.
Well, I had barely got the last word out when Ichiro says something in Japanse. Then his translator turns to me, deadpanned and straight-faced and says, "I'm going to mess with your house." The way he said it was malicious, and Ichiro is on the floor dying laughing like it was the funniest thing ever. I was just like, "OK, I'll see you guys out there." I didn't know what to say. It was weird.
A note to Mr. Bay: If Ichiro asks you, "What did the five fingers say to the face?", don't answer him.