As Ichiro closes in on 3,000 career MLB hits after surpassing Pete Rose’s career total when including his Japanese totals, the case for him being included in the All-Star Game in San Diego should be a no-brainer.

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Make Ichiro an All-Star.

This shouldn’t be a debate.

If fans don’t vote him in, the players should. If the players don’t vote him in, the National League manager should pick him. If the National League manager doesn’t pick him, someone should smuggle him through Petco Park security for the sake of the fans.

You can argue all you want whether the former Mariner is as accomplished as Pete Rose — and plenty of people are doing that. But you can’t argue whether he should be in this year’s Midsummer Classic.

Make Ichiro an All-Star because his numbers this season warrant it.

You can talk about sentimentality all you want, but so far, his 2016 statistics merit a selection. In 56 games — which include 141 plate appearances and 127 official at-bats — the 42-year-old is hitting .354 with six doubles and 22 runs scored. The run-per-plate-appearance ratio is the best of his MLB career, and his .807 OPS is 53 points higher than it was the last time he made the All-Star team in 2010.

No, Ichiro hasn’t been an everyday player, but he has looked like a 27-year-old version of himself every day he’s played. You think pitchers are looking at him with any less respect now than they were then? The ones who know what they’re doing certainly aren’t.

Make Ichiro an All-Star because there will never be a more appropriate year than this one.

If you combine his MLB and Japanese league totals, the future Hall of Famer has 4,258 career hits — as of Friday.

That’s two more than the 4,256 Rose had during his MLB tenure, and while Rose’s all came against the best pitchers and defenses in the world, that doesn’t mean you can mitigate Ichiro’s achievement.

Yes, the “Hit King” is still the disgraced former Cincinnati Red, but Ichiro’s hit total is the most remarkable stat produced by a Japanese-born player to date. And given that he is just 20 hits from from reaching 3,000 for his career — a milestone he should be zeroing in on around the All-Star Game — his presence in San Diego would be as justified as Clayton Kershaw’s or Mike Trout’s.

Make Ichiro an All-Star because he’d be as embraced by the players as he would be by the fans.

Surely you’ve heard about the pregame speeches he would give to his AL teammates, right? He would unleash every four-letter world his English vocabulary harbored and bury the National League as though it were the subject of a Comedy Central roast.

David Ortiz once credited Ichiro as the reason for the AL’s 13-game unbeaten streak.

Ichiro said he was more focused during that moment than the game itself. It’s time the NL clubhouse experienced the same tradition and absorbed the same good luck. If nothing else, 24 guys who may never have played with Ichiro should get the chance to say they did.

Make Ichiro an All-Star because, dang it, this is what All-Star Games are for. People complain about deserving players getting snubbed at the popular ones’ expense — but so what?

Major League Baseball is a multi-billion-dollar industry founded upon entertainment. The All-Star Game should feature players that would most entertain the fans.

When Stephen Strasburg, or Yasiel Puig, or Kerry Wood were denied appearances because they didn’t have enough starts, it was the public that got cheated.

The game is about more than production. Cal Ripken Jr. hit .239 in his final major-league season, but socked a solo home run in the All-Star Game to win MVP right here in Seattle.

You know who had the first hit of that game? One Ichiro Suzuki.

Fifteen years later, the outfielder has earned the right to have a chance for a similar sendoff.

So make Ichiro an All-Star. Somehow, some way.

Doesn’t matter whether he’s the Hit King. He’d be the All-Star Game’s biggest hit.

Who’s the ‘Hit King’?
Ichiro moved 20 hits away from 3,000 Friday night. But when adding his Japanese hit totals, he’s got more hits than Pete Rose, who holds the major-league record:
Player MLB totals Japanese totals Career totals
Pete Rose 4,256 N/A 4,256
Ichiro 2,980 1,278 4,258