“A player your favorite players like.” 메이저놀이터
Ji-man Choi’s (32) new team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, realized the true value of ‘Ji-man Choi’ after 8 games with him.
Choi Ji-man started as the 3rd hitter and designated hitter in the 2023 Major League home game against the Houston Astros held at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA on the 12th (Korean time), 2 hits in 3 at-bats (1 home run), 1 RBI, 1 run, 1 strikeout recorded
In this game, which Pittsburgh won by a come-from-behind 7-4, the most noteworthy was Bae Ji-hwan (24), a Korean colleague who hit a three-run finish in the bottom of the ninth.
However, Choi Ji-man’s performance inside and outside the batter box could not be ignored. In the bottom of the first inning, when Pittsburgh was trailing 0-1, Choi Ji-man’s double, which hit the right wall 180 degrees turned the bad atmosphere caused by the early run. Choi Ji-man sprinted to the second base despite his helmet coming off. The ceremony of clenching fists at second base saved the atmosphere of the Pittsburgh dugout.
At the end of the 6th inning, where the score was tight 2-2, he hit a reverse solo shot, but his actions after entering the dugout drew attention. Choi Ji-man, who went into the dugout after the home run, was handed a model knife from his colleague and made his teammates happy while holding a ceremony.
Pittsburgh’s official SNS posted the phrase “Your favorite players, their favorite players” and an emoticon that said it was funny to tears. In response to this post, Pittsburgh fans responded explosively, such as “Pittsburgh has a really funny guy”, “Barry Bonds (who was not on good terms with his colleagues) should look up to Choi Ji-man”, and “I’m glad he came.” seemed
Among them, fans of Tampa Bay, the former team of Choi Ji-man, also attracted attention. Tampa Bay fans used to share videos of Choi Ji-man’s Tampa Bay days, saying, “We miss Choi Ji-man.”
Tampa Bay is no different from his home team, where he played for about 4 years and 4 months out of 8 seasons in Choi Ji-man’s major league career. He was traded from Milwaukee during the 2018 season and was much loved by his Tampa Bay teammates and fans until he was traded back to Pittsburgh in November last year. At Tropicana Field, the home stadium, Choi Ji-man’s fan club banner was not uncommonly visible, and according to a survey by American media Around the Diamond last year, Choi Ji-man was the most loved major league player in Florida.
In the meantime, Pittsburgh fans did not immediately feel the value of only Choi. Because during his first 6 games, he had a batting average of 0.053 and it was difficult to show an exhilarating appearance. However, he is realizing the ‘Choi Ji-man effect’ as he hit his first multi-hit, including the season 2, following his season’s first home run in 3 home matches against Houston this time.
Even in the interview after the match, I could feel why Choi Ji-man was called the clubhouse leader and mood maker. On this day, Choi Ji-man and Bae Ji-hwan became the first Korean duo to hit a home run in the same game in major league history. Although he had to give way to his junior Bae Ji-hwan, who had beaten Pittsburgh’s first hero interview, Choi Ji-man was pleasant until the end.
Choi Ji-man said at first, “I feel bad because I am not in the spotlight,” and then said, “Jokes aside, I am really happy that Bae Ji-hwan finished the job. I knew he would do it.”