Friday, August 06, 2004

One of the little things I'll miss when I move is walking past the Ilgan Sports USA newspaper box every morning. (If your browser doesn't mind Korean, here's a link.) This is the Korean sports daily for the U.S. market. As you might imagine, their take on sports is slightly different--at least based on the single daily above-the-fold picture, which is all I can understand.

Until this week, you could count on one of the following being the above-the-fold picture, in roughly this order of frequency:

  1. Michelle Wie
  2. Whichever of the half-dozen or so Korean MLB players had the best day
  3. Kobe Bryant
  4. A Korean female golfer other than Michelle Wie
  5. A South Korean soccer player
  6. That Korean guy who got drafted late in the NBA 2nd round/Adrian Beltre (tie)

The last two on the list each appeared once--Jeff and I took it as a sign that Beltre had arrived, when he was featured recently. Interestingly, Laker triumphs inevitably ended with Kobe featured, never Shaq.

Last Saturday, though, after a certain transaction, I said to Jeff that the cover might have found its permanent poster boy. I don't know about permanent, but new Dodger Hee Seop Choi has been featured literally every day this week. This was a neat trick on Wednesday in particular, since Choi was DNP--Coach's Decision in Tuesday night's game.

Lots of people are trying to make sense of the Dodgers' deadline trades, but consider this. There's a huge Korean community in L.A., and it's centered not very far from Chavez Ravine. The Dodgers used to be able to count on a noticeable boost in attendance every five days when Chan Ho Park pitched. The prospect of having a Korean everyday player pulling in more Korean fans every day had to have played at least some role in the thinking behind the trade. I'm not saying Choi is a token--he has plenty of potential and a little bit of a pedigree already; I'm just guessing that it was a factor.

Now all Dodger fans and Koreans can hope that Hee is truly The Chosun One.

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