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“Amazing” Hee-seop, “Disappointing” Chan-ho

Posted May. 11, 2005 23:30,   


“Big Choi” Choi Hee-seop (26, Los Angeles Dodgers) confirmed his existence once again with a come-from-behind homerun. On the other hand “Korean Express” Park Chan-ho (32, Texas Rangers), who had been looking forward to his fourth victory of the season, blew it when he was almost there.

Choi played first base for the Dodgers against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on May 11 (Korean time) and led his team to a 9-8 victory with a come-from-behind three-run homer in the sixth inning with his team losing, 6-7. It was his sixth homerun of the season.

Choi had been warming the bench for two games since May 9 because of manager Jim Tracy’s platoon system, but on this day, he relieved his stress with his batting, going 2-for-4 with a walk and four RBI. His batting average went up from .269 to .280.

Choi hit a single against starting pitcher Matt Morris in the first inning and brought home a man on second base, driving in the team’s first run. In his second and third at-bats in the fourth and fifth innings he struck out and walked.

The drama occurred during a six-run sixth inning when the Dodgers, trailing 3-7, had scored three runs in the sixth inning to bring the game up to 6-7. Choi came to the plate against Cardinals relief pitcher Kevin Jarvis and hit a curveball that flew into the center field stands.

While Choi enjoyed his day, Park Chan-ho was having a bad one.

Park Chan-ho started in a home game against Detroit and pitched five scoreless innings, but blew his victory by allowing four runs in the sixth inning with his team up 4-0. He tallied five strikeouts and allowed eight hits, one walk, and four runs. His record is still 3-1 and his ERA increased to 4.99.

In the sixth inning, Park allowed consecutive hits to Carlos Guillen and Rondell White to start the inning, getting himself into a no-out, two-men-on-base situation. He then allowed two more hits to allow two runs and left the mound with two outs. Both of the men left on base were Park’s responsibility, and they reached home when relief pitcher Doug Brocail allowed two more consecutive hits.

Park received a round of applause earlier in the day for a defensive play in which he blocked hitter Ramon Martinez’s ball with his foot, fielded the bouncing ball with his bare hands, and tossed it to the first baseman for the out.

Meanwhile, Park has been named as one of the candidates for Major League Baseball’s “Comeback Player of the Year Award.” Reporter Doug Miller of MLB.com mentioned Park as one of the four candidates for the award, saying, “Park has started to earn his salary this season.”

Sung-Kyu Kim kimsk@donga.com