“How much will it cost? Let me talk to Boras,” Jung Min-cheol, general manager of the Hanwha Eagles, said mischievously after congratulating Ryu Hyun-jin on the arrival of a new baby. Ryu Hyun-jin, 32, made a surprise visit on Tuesday to the training field of Hanwha Eagles’ second division team in Seosan, South Chungcheong Province.
Having had a spectacular season, going 14-5 with an MBL-best 2.32 ERA, Ryu will obviously not return to the domestic league next year. But Jung gave it a shot anyway since he had declared to jump into the FA market. The two are very close since they played for the same team as players and sometimes as a coach and a player. Furthermore, Jung played matchmaker for Ryu and his wife Bae Ji-hyun while he was a baseball commentator. Ryu and Bae are expecting a baby next year.
Their friendship was behind Ryu’s surprise visit to Seosan. After meeting with the Hanwha manager Han Yong-deok, Ryu watched the players training. Lee Yong-gyu, who is working hard in the second division team to recover his reputation, jokingly said to Ryu, “Go change into your uniform.” Although it was Ryu’s first visit to the training field in Seosan, which opened in 2013 after Ryu had moved to the big league, Ryu said he is happy to see many players he played together.
Ryu returned home from the U.S. last Thursday after having his first double-digit win in five years. After appearing on a few TV shows, Ryu will begin his personal training next month.
Ryu once said he wants to retire wearing the uniform of Hanwha. He is training with Hanwha players, such as Jang Min-je and Lee Tae-yang, during off season, passing on his know-how to budding young players. Ryu’s surprise visit invigorated his home team, which had below-par performance this season.
Bae-Jung Kim firstname.lastname@example.org