The Mariners wrapped up a whirlwind tour of Japan on March 30, spending 10 days on the ground, visiting U.S. military bases, the tsunami and earthquake recovery area, sightseeing and squeezing in four games (two exhibition and two regular season).
The Tokyo Dome was rocking for the Mariners 3-1 extra innings win over the Oakland A's on March 28. Safeco Field was also hopping as 150 season ticket holders gathered at 3am PDT for a viewing party at the Terrace Club complete with two renditions of Take Me Out to the Ballgame for the 7th Inning Stretch.
On playing in front of his countrymen, Ichiro, who went 4 for 5 in the opening game, said "More than four hits, it was being able to enjoy the atmosphere with the fans. Being there with the same feelings, that was special to me. That's what will stay in my heart."
Dustin Ackely, who hit a solo home run, the first of the MLB season, said "It might be the coolest thing I've ever done in my life. So to be a part of that and to be a part of this winning team and the game tonight in extra innings, it was awesome."
Starting pitcher Felix Hernandez, who recorded a no decision, said he felt honored to pitch in Tokyo. "It's been unbelievable to be here. Great fans and everything. Everyone worked together and it was a great win for us. And all the fans in the stadium, that was pretty good, man."