BY John Hickey 05:42PM 03/18/2011

Ichiro makes donation to Japanese Red Cross

Right fielder’s $1.25 million donation is the latest in a series of his humanitarian actions.

Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki has contributed $1.25 million to Japanese disaster relief / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

Ichiro Suzuki has been slow to talk about his reactions to the earthquake and tsunami that has hammered Japan, but he’s been quick to act.

It came out Friday morning that the Seattle Mariner right fielder has donated 100 million yen or about $1.25 million to the Japanese Red Cross in the wake of the twin disasters that have ravaged his homeland.

Later in the day, the Mariners announced that they, too, will step up for the victims of the events of this month in Japan. Seattle opens the home portion of the season with six games against the Cleveland Indians and Toronto Blue Jays, and the club says it will match all front office employee and fan contributions with a guarantee of at least $100,000.

Ichiro deferred all questions about his reaction to the quake in its immediate aftermath, and that hasn’t changed. Through his interpreter, Ichiro again declined to comment Friday about the tragedy and his reaction to it.

That’s just the way Ichiro prefers; he’ll talk about baseball, a subject on which he is an expert, but he’s hesitant to talk about subjects on which he doesn’t have a full grasp of the facts, and the big donation doesn’t change the fact that he is still trying to gather in the staggering nature of what has happened.

It’s not the first time Ichiro has stepped up. He donated 10 million yen just last month for Miyazaki Prefecture after eruptions of the Shinmoe Peak volcano. In 1995 he donated 10 million yen after the Great Hanshin earthquake, and in 2000 he sent 1,500 items of clothing valued at 13 million yet to Aichi Prefecture after that area was deluged by heavy rain.

The Mariner organization’s deep connections to Japan make the club particularly sensitive to disasters the magnitude of the ones that have surfaced since the off-shore earthquake of March 10.

“The Mariners join with people from around the world in extending our sympathy to the many people affected by the devastating earthquake and tsunami,’’ Mariners’ CEO Howard Lincoln said. “The Mariners have had great support from the Japanese business community and fans all across Japan.

“Our thoughts and best wishes are with them as they begin the long road to recovery.’’

The Mariners say volunteers will be on hand outside the gates of Safeco Field for each game of the homestand to facilitate the making of donations. And donations will be accepted inside Safeco Field at the Guest Services areas located at sections 129, 233 and 329.

The club has plans in place to collect, along with the Red Cross, donations on other select dates this season including a yet-to-be scheduled Salute to Japan Night.

In addition, the club is sending proceeds from the first Mariners Care silent auction on April 9 to the Red Cross.

For those not going to be on hand, donations can be directed to Japan earthquake and tsunami relief by following the links at www.redcross.org and also can be made by texting RedCross to 90999. A $10 donation will appear on the donor’s cell phone bill.

Twitter: @JHickey3


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