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Flying Choi and Falling Chan Ho

Posted April. 07, 2003 21:57,   


The second sortie of Chan Ho Park (Texas Rangers) could be compared to a disaster, as well.

Jae Seo, who took the mound as start for the New York Mets for the first time in his six-year ML career, also failed to leave an impressive memory. Only Hee Choi of Chicago Cubs continued our hope.

Yesterday, three South Korean major leaguers played, and ended games with different results.

Seo began pitching about two hours prior to Chan Ho’s. Last year, Seo pitched only one inning and went back to the minor leagues. For the first time, he started the game against Montreal Expos yesterday in a home game.

Wearing a thick beard and mustache, he threw "bravely" without any fear. But, for 4 2/3 innings, he allowed 10 hits and 3 runs. Fortunately, Mets pulled out an 8-5 victory at the end, saving Seo from recording a loser.

Seo pitched aggressively, giving up no walk to Expos. But his best speed was just 146km and did not show much variation in terms of curve balls. Thus, it is now doubtful whether he could remain in the five-man rotation.

Chan Ho, who got off to a terrible start in the season opener, let us down again faced with Seattle Mariners. At first, he was good. He struck out the first two batters in the first. But, Martinez hit a two-out solo homer against Chan Ho. Again in the second, Chan Ho allowed two more hits and one more run. Then, in the third, his lost ball command led to two walks and two runs.

Seattle led 4-0 when Park (0-2) was pulled by Buck Showalter after Ichiro Suzuki’s leadoff single in the fourth. Chan Ho looked full of frustration and embarrassment, stepping down in the middle of boos from his home fans. During three innings, he lost four runs, and gave up five hits and four walks. The Mariners recorded an 11-2 romp over the Rangers.

For the first time throughout his career, Chan Ho started off a season with two consecutive losers. Also, he got pulled off the mound for the second time within the first three innings. It is another "first." Only for the past two games, he allowed 11 hits and 10 runs, amounting to 15.88 ERA. Watching Chan Ho Returning back to his formal pitching form, we can guess he is undergoing lots of confusion. His best speed was 148km.

After the game, Chan Ho said, "My condition was good. I guess I lost some balls and the balls led to the bad result I have today." In the meanwhile, Rangers manager Buck Showalter said that he would take patience and wait for Chan Ho’s coming back.

In the meanwhile, Choi of Cubs continued his hitting streak. Batting against Cincinnati Reds, Choi recorded a 2 for 1 with one walk, making another hit in four consecutive games. His season batting average came to 0.333. Choi scored 7 runs, ranking at second in the National League. His team, however, lost the game 4-5.

Sang-Soo Kim ssoo@donga.com