Sun fades on Korean Dodger but light may be leftI hate to admit it but I am nearly at the end of my wits in defending Park Chan-ho.
There you have it. My official white flag. But I am willing to defend Park one last time because I can’t forget the first taste he gave me and the whole Korean peninsula of the U.S. major leagues, solidly pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Alas, those were the good old days. Park could give an interview with his wicked accent, speaking Korean like a foreigner would. Nobody would raise a peep because he was our hero.
Park is different from other Korean major leaguers because he was the first one who gave a solid performance. He was the one who prompted massive interest in the major leagues.
We all know Park’s history, especially the part that we would like to forget. It started to go down the toilet the moment he signed a huge contract with the Texas Rangers three seasons ago. Hampered by injury, he hardly justified the $65 million that the Rangers gave him in a five-year deal. Last season, he posted a 4-7 record with a 5.46 ERA. It wasn’t much better than the previous two years. He tried many methods to get back to his old form, including an attempt to become a finesse pitcher. It didn’t and it won’t work for Park.
“Getting his fastball back is what counts. If he gets it back, then he can use his other stuff in a much better fashion,” said Ahn Byeong-hwan, scout for the Asia region for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Make that a controlled fastball. As I have said numerous times, without locating the ball, he won’t survive. He can lose some speed on his fastball as long as it has some bite. Otherwise, even with a fastball clicking, he will get hammered by batters.
While Park works on his fastball there is one thing we ― the media ― can do for him. We have to be less protective of him. When the season starts, we will have papers covering every single comment made by the Texas media regarding Park and countering it tit-for-tat without justification.
That’s not helping Park. He is a professional who should know how to deal with pressure. The blame he received for the past three years is well deserved. And the response written to the Texas media by some of the Korean media is not.
If Park had three good innings, you can’t write that he is about to swing it around for the better and that he’ll end up with a winning record for the season.
If he records a loss, you just can’t blame it on weak support. If he gave up a big one, you can’t blame it on the catcher. Yet, that’s what happens a lot.
Reading all this nonsense, Park might be tricking himself into believing that he is not to blame for his poor outings.
On the Internet’s fantasy baseball leagues, Park has a low ranking. One could easily grab him after the draft. Many will do this, but fantasy games are won on how well one uses free agents or gets the best bargain. In my eyes, Park is still a bargain both in reality and in the fantasy leagues.
by Brain Lee