Still unsure exactly what to expect from the Japanese newcomer, Lou Piniella kept waiting for the rookie to pull a ball. Too many hits sprayed to left field, Sweet Lou thought, too easy for defenses to adjust.
So the veteran Seattle manager summoned the translator and told him to deliver a message to Ichiro Suzuki: "I want to see some bat speed."
Piniella saw them huddle in the dugout and share a laugh. A couple of innings later, Suzuki led off with a home run into the bullpen in right-center.
"He rounds the bases, he steps on home plate, and he says, 'Happy now?' when he shook my hand," Piniella recalled. "I said, `Yeah, yeah, you can do...