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Choi Hee-seop Hits His Two-run Homer with His Feet

Posted May. 20, 2004 22:16,   


“Pump, pump.” He passed over first and second base and ran through third base quickly. Home plate came in sight of him and the big guy of 195cm and 115kg size threw his body out, raising a cloud of dust. He looked at the umpire with his arms stretched out just as he insisted that he was the first to touch the plate.

“Safe.” A smile covered his face when the umpire ruled him safe. It was the moment that “Big Choi” Choi Hee-seop (Florida Marlines) hit his 10th homer in the season with his speed.

He hit an inside-the-park homer in the second inning at the home game against the Houston Astros at Pro Player Stadium on May 20. The homer was his first in 43 at-bats, 50 chances at the plate over 15 games, and 19 days since the game against San Francisco Giants on May 1. Choi had once hit an inside-the-park home run against Houston at Single A in 1999, but it was his first time in the Major Leagues. It’s the second inside-the-park homer this season.

By getting a hit in three at-bats, Choi is averaging 0.238. Slugging two homers in 2001 and eight homers last year, Choi reached the two-digit home run level for the first time in his Major League career, with 20 career home runs and matching Barry Bonds (San Francisco Giants) for the home run this season.

Signaling his revival by blowing a double on the previous day as he was pushed down to the seventh spot in the batting order because of his recent inactiveness, Choi appeared as the sixth hitter, walked in his first bat, and stood at the plate with a runner on first base and two outs in the fourth inning. He took a powerful swing at a 146km/h’s outside two-seam fastball from the starting pitcher Tim Redding’s 7th pitch on a two-strike and three-ball count. The battered ball hit the edge of the wall and rolled down right along the fence. While an outfielder was being flustered trying to catch the ball, Choi ran like the wind with his speed of 100 m in 12 seconds and touched the plate with a one-legged slide to avoid the catcher’s tag. However, the Marlins were defeated 2-10.

Rumored of being excluded from the starting rotation and dismissal, Park Chan-ho (Texas Rangers) started in a home game against Kansas City Royals to go for his third win, but suffered from his typical “Homerun Fever” and got his fourth loss instead. He gave up three homers, four hits, four walks, and three hit-by-pitches to allow five runs over 6 and 2/3 innings pitched. His ERA jumped to 5.80. He is tied for first in home runs allowed in the American League.

Kim Seon-woo (Montreal Expos) became a losing pitcher by allowing four hits, three walks, and four runs while striking out three over 3 and 1/3 innings pitched in the home game against Milwaukee Brewers. He suffered his second loss (two wins) and has an ERA of 3.65. Kim pitched well, with one hit allowed and no runs up to the third inning, but sudden pouring rain in the fourth inning disrupted his control and brought him to his knees.

Jong-Seok Kim kjs0123@donga.com