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Ichiro Suzuki doesn’t appear in as many games as he used to, but the 43-year-old Miami Marlins outfielder still managed an impressive .291 batting average in 143 games last season. He also has no plans to hang his cleats up in the near future.
On Wednesday, the Miami Herald caught up with Ichiro, and he told the newspaper he had every intention of playing into his 50s.
“I’m not joking when I say it,” he said. “Nobody knows what the future holds. But the way I feel, how I’m thinking, I feel like nothing can stop me from doing it. When you retire from baseball, you have until the day you die to rest.”
Ichiro also had a somewhat morbid response when asked what he would do upon finally retiring.
“I think I’ll just die,” he said.
Considering his commitment to the sport, and to staying in shape, it’s hard to question his commitment to playing.
According to the Herald, the most recent vacation he remembers taking was more than a decade ago:
“The last time he took one – 2004 or ’05, he doesn’t recall which – was a week-long trip to Milan, Italy. He worked out pretty much the entire time and said the excursion threw him out of sync for two or three weeks.
“Never again, he vowed.
“‘That’s the last time I took a vacation,’ he said.”
These days, during the offseason he takes three or four days off before returning to his workouts, which, according to the Herald, take place in a cargo container the Marlins have bequeathed to him as a sort of personal gym.
He may be entering his 26th season playing professional baseball, and his 17th in MLB, but why would he give his body a break?
“Physically, unless you have some kind of injury, you don’t really need a break,” Ichiro said. “I think mentally you sometimes need a break. But for me, my body is built so that if I don’t work out, that’s when I put more stress on my body and get more tired. For me, if I stay on the couch all day – or even one day – I’ll be more tired doing that than going out and giving my body a workout.”