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Did You See the Black Callus In My Palm?

Posted February. 16, 2004 22:50,   


A black callus was seen in the palm of his right hand while he said to good-bye to his intimate friends.

Shaking hands with him and touching his palm, the palm was like the back skin of a turtle. He doesn’t easily form a callus because of his thick palm. Consequently, the callus points out that he has prepared himself well for a new season.

“Big Choi” Choi Hee-seop, the 25-year-old first baseman for the Florida Marlins, left for America with big hopes. Choi departed for Chicago through Incheon International Airport on February 16 after finishing an 80-day domestic schedule since his return to Korea on November 26 of last year. He is supposed to make preparations for the season in earnest.

Appearing at the exit wearing a black leather jacket, Choi spoke of his aspirations for the coming season with his tanned face and a bright look. He started by saying, “I have stayed one more month in Korea than last year, and spent time with training and good conduct. I can now leave Korea happily.”

He looked satisfied with his intensive training for two months in the baseball camp of Namhae, Kyoungnam. “I focused on batting exercises, while I concentrated on physical strength training last year. I am ready to play the game in 100 percent condition,” said Choi with confidence.

He also mentioned that he increased his skill to cope with the ball inside and curve balls as well against left-hand pitching, working on his weak points through an analysis of video and a correction to his batting form which he can’t yet expose to public. He also stated that he changed his passive attitudes against left-handed pitchers. He used the expression of “I was astonished myself,” referring to results of training.

He opened his excited heart at the question of his movement to a new home, leaving Chicago Cubs. “I remember the day when I left for Chicago five years ago. I am already thrilled to play for a new team.”

Choi said, “My goal of this season is to perform twice as well compared to last season.” He played for 80 games, batted .218 and hit eight homeruns with 28 RBIs last season. He wants to perform double that in every field including the number of games played and homeruns.

Choi has to compete with Wil Cordero, who was just contracted with Florida in the position of first baseman. However he was confident saying, “I can do better if I have a fair rival. I am confident, and it will be all right if I play as I have trained before.”

Getting focused in his new place where is called the “Yao Ming of Florida,” Choi will pack his things during a 3-day stay in Chicago and will move to Jupiter, Florida where their spring training camp will open.

Jong-Seok Kim kjs0123@donga.com