Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard is an avowed Seattle Mariners fanatic — not to mention a sage-like fantasy baseball GM — so it was with a heavy heart that he learned Monday that his team had traded iconic outfielder Ichiro Suzuki to the New York Yankees (boo!) for a pair of untested pitchers.
The move brought to a close Ichiro’s decade-plus stint with the Mariners, during which he was voted to 10 All-Star teams, won a pair of batting titles and was named the 2001 Most Valuable Player award. He was also the team’s most beloved — and famous — player, a legend both in Seattle and his native Japan. And in the blink of an eye, he was gone, shipped off to the Yankees as the Mariners begin the long process of rebuilding.
Like most Mariners fans, Gibbard first reacted to the news by thanking Ichiro for his time in Seattle, writing on Twitter, “Totally okay with this trade. Thanks for your best years, Ichiro. We will always look back on them fondly.” But unlike the average M’s fan, he also fronts a world-renowned rock act, which is why he decided to post a tribute song he’d written about the just-departed outfielder.
Gibbard’s tune, called “Ichiro’s Theme,” extolls the virtues of the outfielder — his blinding speed, prowess in right field, clutch hitting and cannon-like arm — and details how he “rode a Blue Wave to the Northwest coast” (a reference to the team Ichiro played for in Japan, the Orix Blue Wave). There’s also a nod to longtime Mariners radio announcer Dave Niehaus —′ “Dave says on the radio/ Ichiro, you’re unbelievable” — mixed in with the chugging, ballpark-approved guitar chords and Gibbard’s chant-ready chorus: “Go, go, go, go Ichiro!”
It’s a thoroughly fitting tribute to Ichiro himself, and though it was actually written “a few years ago,” Gibbard explained that he decided to post it following Ichiro’s trade since “today seems like the best day to let you all hear it.”
“Thank you, Ichiro,” he added.