Some years ago, entertainer Peter Allen wrote a song called “Everything Old Is New Again.’’ The lyrics include the following stanza:
“Don’t throw the past away
You might need it some rainy day
Dreams can come true again
When everything old is new again’’
He wasn’t writing about baseball but judging by a couple of signings this spring, he might just as well have been.
Look who just showed up in the Seattle Mariners’ camp. Why if it isn’t old pal Ichiro Suzuki, back with his original team after spending five years with the New York Yankees and Florida Marlins.
And over in the Texas Rangers camp is Tim Lincecum, once the ace of the San Francisco Giants staff now trying to reinvent himself as a closer after sitting out last season.
Just when you thought they were done, Ichiro and Lincecum are back for one more go-round.
Their credentials are impeccable, Ichiro with 3,080 hits and a .312 batting average since coming to the major leagues in 2001, Lincecum with two Cy Young Awards, two no-hitters and three World Series rings from his days with the Giants.
That was then. This is now.
Ichiro is 44, an age that qualifies him to be known as The Ancient Mariner, which was what they called 40-year-old Diego Segui when he was the starting pitcher in the franchise’s first game back in 1977.
Imported from Japan in 2001, Ichiro was an instant star, named the Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year, a rare double, and leading Seattle into the playoffs. The Mariners haven’t been to the postseason since then.
He had 10 straight 200-hit seasons and led the American League in hits five years in a row. There were batting championships in 2001 and 2004, when he assembled 262 hits and a .372 batting average. After 13 seasons in Seattle, he was shuffled off to the New York Yankees and then moved on to the Florida Marlins. Now he’s right back where he started, trying to squeeze out one more year in the Major Leagues.
Lincecum is 33 and sat out last season after a horrible cameo in 2016 with the Los Angeles Angels when he went 2-6 with a 9.16 earned run average, allowing 68 hits and 23 walks in 38 1/3 innings.
It was long removed from his glory days when he led the National League in strikeouts for three straight seasons from 2008 to 2010 and shutouts in 2009. He became the first pitcher to win the Cy Young Award in each of his first two seasons. He threw no-hitters against San Diego in 2013 and 2014. But his unique corkscrew delivery led to injuries to his hips and eventually to his release by the Giants.
Now he will try to reinvent himself in the Rangers bullpen, pitching with a heavy heart after the sudden death in February of his older brother, Sean. Meanwhile, Ichiro will be reintroducing himself to his old pals in Seattle.
So what do these two have left in their tanks? The Mariners and Rangers are betting that it’s enough to take a one-year gamble ,trying to see if something old can be new again.