Servais played coy about Ichiro donning a fake mustache and glasses and sitting in the Mariners dugout on Thursday at Yankee Stadium.
BOSTON — Manager Scott Servais took the phone and studied the photo being shown to him. It was picture of man that looked an awful lot like Ichiro wearing a fake mustache with sunglasses and his sweatshirt hood pulled over his head.
Servais made a wry smile at the inside joke that had now gone public. But there was no admittance of guilt. Nope, he instead played coy.
“I don’t recognize him,” Servais said. “Who is that? Huh, interesting. Let me see it again. Hmm, he appears to be of Asian descent.”
There was no giving in to the situation despite attempts at confirmation.
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“I don’t know anybody who has a mustache,” Servais said. “I don’t know who that is, but we’ll definitely keep an eye out for him today. If he’s with us in Boston … I thought security was tough in New York. Somebody showed me that same picture after the game. I have no idea who it is.”
Of course, it was Ichiro. In his current role as “special assistant to the chairman,” he’s not allowed to be in the dugout during games. It’s something that he doesn’t enjoy. Often times, he spends the game hitting in the indoor cages and working out in the weight room. But when the Mariners are about to win a game, Ichiro often stands in the tunnel behind the dugout and races on to the field to celebrate wins with his teammates.
But back when it was announced that he was transitioning in roles, Ichiro gave away his future plan to get some time in the dugout.
“I can’t say for certain that maybe I won’t put on a beard and glasses and be like Bobby Valentine and be in the dugout,” he said through interpreter Allen Turner.
It was fitting that he did it New York where Valentine, who was managing the Mets at the time, donned the fake mustache and glasses and sat in the dugout of Shea Stadium after being ejected from the game.
Realistically, the Mariners and Ichiro can’t confirm his ruse because it technically was breaking MLB rules. The dugout is limited to a specific number of coaches and staff members. But it’s likely that photographers will be checking the dugout for a guy with a mustache in the rest of the Mariners games going forward.