They saved the sterile glove trainers used to treat Ichiro Suzuki. They photographed the Japanese baseball legend sitting on the training table.
And why not?
On what was an otherwise routine day of spring training for the Marlins, history was made when the 43-year-old Suzuki required treatment for an injury for the first time in his long and illustrious career.
Suzuki bruised his right knee and tweaked his lower back in an outfield collision with Brandon Barnes.
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“This was the first time going into a trainer’s room for me, so that was a little different,” Suzuki said afterward. “The only time I’ve gone into a trainer’s room was to grab a band-aid. So today was the longest I’ve been in the training room in my whole career.”
Suzuki, whose only stint on the disabled list was due to a bleeding ulcer in 2009, said he expects to miss a few days of training and that the discomfort in his back is of greater concern than the knee.
“We’ll see where I’m at tomorrow,” Suzuki said.
No one felt worse than Barnes, who apologized to Suzuki for the communication mixup that led to the collision and became the target of teasing and good-natured ribbing by his Marlins teammates. Before Barnes returned to the clubhouse, players had cleaned out his locker, removed his name tag, and taped up a sign that read: “You’re cut. Good luck in Korea.” They had it signed by Suzuki.
“It’s not the way you want to do things, especially your fifth day of camp,” said Barnes, a non-roster invitee who is new to the Marlins organzation. “That guy’s a legend. He’s been around so long. It’s tough to be the guy that sends him to the training room for the first time.”
It all started during a routine outfield communication drill. With Suzuki in center and Barnes in right field, the two converged on a fly ball hit into the gap. Both called for the ball before colliding.
“We called at the same time,” Suzuki said.
As center fielder, Suzuki had first right to the ball.
Suzuki remained on the field and tried to continue with the drill. But eventually he limped off to the training room. Barnes followed him in to make sure he was all right.
“I’ve never had anything like that happen during spring training,” Suzuki said.
It was such a historic moment that the trainers saved the sterile glove as a souvenir. Teammates began popping in to take pictures. Prado said even the steam machine used to treat Suzuki was set aside for preservation, never to be used again.
“It all goes to Cooperstown,” Prado joked.
Once it became clear that the injury was not serious, Marlins players went to work on Barnes, giving him a hard time, but in the spirit of fun.
“Nobody messes with Ichiro,” Prado said. “Not even (manager Don) Mattingly. So now he (Barnes) has to be aware of ninjas around. He just can’t go outside by himself.”
All-Star Sunday tickets
Tickets to All-Star FanFest and All-Star Sunday are now on sale.
And if fans act fast, they can purchase FanFest tickets at a discount.
From now until 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, tickets to the five-day FanFest, which will be held at the Miami Beach Convention Center, can be purchased for $10 each. After that, tickets are $35 for adults and $30 for children 12 and under.
The event in past years has attracted an average of about 100,000 fans over the five days, according to MLB spokeswoman Jackie Secaira-Cotto.
According to MLB, FanFest "is the world’s largest interactive baseball theme park" with more than 40 attractions, including artifacts from the Baseball Hall of Fame and autograph sessions with current and former players.
Tickets also went on sale MLB All-Star Sunday, which includes All-Star Futures Game and All-Star All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game. Tickets to All-Star Sunday start at $80 and go up.
This year’s All-Star Game will be held at Marlins Park on July 11, with the Home Run Derby set for July 10.