Friday, April 23, 2010

Coming to terms with Chan Ho Park


Chan Ho Park is a Yankee now, so he's practically dead to me. But also, his Yankee-ness is another episode in what has been a series events involving Park that have made me uncomfortable.

Park embarrasses me. At least he did when he was a Dodger.

To start, when he was a rookie, he didn't react well to the customary hazing ritual. Dodger veterans took his clothes, cut up his new suit and tried to get him to wear a crazy outfit. Park, from South Korea and unfamiliar with Americans' weird customs, flipped out, throwing stuff, screaming, not going along with the ritual at all.

"Oh boy," I thought. "Who is THIS guy?"

Then, on the mound three years later, Park did the unthinkable. He gave up two grand slams in one inning to the same player. Now, why Park was still on the mound for the second time that Fernando Tatis came up during the inning I'll never know. But the fact is that Park gave up two grand slams in the same inning to Tatis.

Do you know how many people, knowing that I was a Dodger fan, brought up Park's "accomplishment"? I practically had to go into seclusion.

And both guys are still playing -- in New York -- so I'm reminded of it every time I see them.

Embarrassing.

Two months later, Park gets in a brawl with pitcher and ex-Dodger Tim Belcher. Instead of using traditional methods of fisticuffs, Park attempts to karate kick Belcher with his cleats. If that wasn't odd enough, Belcher, who was probably about 15 years older than Park at the time, beats his ass.

Shameful.

Park's pitching was going downhill by this time and he was beginning to embarrass me on a weekly basis. I  couldn't wait for him to leave. Fortunately, he did, and the following seasons weren't pretty. He got lit up with the Rangers and endured a scary medical issue with the Padres. Then he came back to the Dodgers and did OK. Although I seem to remember more bad than good.

Now he's with the Yankees (ugh), scrounging for a World Series ring near the end of his career, and captivating audiences with his tales of diarrhea. Even though he wasn't with the Dodgers during his Too Much Information session, it still made me cringe on the inside.

But I have realized that because Park often makes me uncomfortable, because I was not proud to have him on my team, I am doing him an injustice.

I receive a lot of Park cards in trades. I'll scan a bunch of cards from a trade ahead of time, and then later when I'm writing the post, I'll select which cards to feature. But I figured out that I was avoiding uploading the Park cards -- almost subconsciously -- because I don't want to rehash the stories that bothered me the first time. Some of the incidents aren't even Park's fault. And I wonder if they bothered me because maybe I was putting myself in his shoes. Could I do even half as good a job if I was forced to make a high-profile living in a foreign country?

So, here are some Park cards that I have received in trades that I have never shown. These are only a smattering because I don't have the time today to dig up a bunch of them.

No words. Just enjoy Chan Ho Park. Before he was a Yankee:


All right, Chan Ho, that's as nice as I'm going to get. You're with the enemy now. Once you get off the DL, it's time to start losing games.

4 comments:

  1. Trust me, he's embarrasing Yankee fans as well.

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  2. Wow. I have never seen any of those sets before in my life. And you say the '80s were ugly?

    verification word: putzingl. maybe the best ever.

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  3. He probably should have never left the Dodgers in the first place. That guy's stuff was electric and it played well in what was generally known as a pitcher's park.

    His career imploded when he went for the Rangers [and $55 million], but I'm surprised he has decent career numbers [even after playing for a bunch of teams after the Dodgers].

    If used correctly, he can still be an effective 'power arm' out of the bullpen.

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  4. Park actually fulfilled a pretty critical role for the 2009 Phils bullpen after not working out as a starter.

    He is an odd one, but did alright on the field for the Phils.

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