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Big Choi�s Fifth Homerun

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APRIL 16, 2004 20:50
by Sang-Soo Kim (ssoo@donga.com)

One hundred and one! This is the expected number of home runs for Korean major-leaguer Choi Hee-seop (25 years old, Florida Marins) on the ESPN internet site.

Given that his current homerun average is 0.625 per game, we can expect that he will break the historic home run record of Barry Bonds (San Francisco Giants), with 73 home runs per game, which is the highest home run figure for a single season. Further, we may witness him hitting 100 home runs this season as the first player in Major League history.

This year, Choi�s home run pace is remarkable. Five homeruns in nine games. All of his six hits are home runs except one in the game against the Montreal Expos on April 8.

He is tied for second in home runs in the National League. However, he has hit five homeruns in 25 at-bats, which means one home run per five at-bats. No other hitter in the Major Leagues can match Choi.

On Friday, in the game against the Montreal Expos, Choi continued his home run parade.

As the sixth hitter in the lineup and the first baseman, he hit a two-run homer, 125m long, in the fourth inning while his team was leading 1-0. This was his second consecutive game with a home run.

It was even more valuable because it helped give his Florida Marlins team a 3-0 victory. As of now, the Florida Marlins, with seven straight victories, has the highest winning percentage among all Major League teams (0.890).

�Although he makes a lot of hits, Choi hits the big shot at the critical moment,� the manager of Florida Marlins said. �Of all of the hits in today�s game, Choi�s two-run homer was the most important,� praised the team�s hitting coach, Bill Robinson.

Korean major-leaguer Choi Hee-seop is attracting American media attention also with his home runs. Some American reporters even make jokes asking why Choi doesn�t make regular hits but only home runs.

After Friday�s game, even Choi himself commented that he didn�t really understand why he has hit so many home runs. However, soon, he added that as he tries to hit every ball confidently, he does not miss a careless pitch at all and therefore has hit so many home runs.

�I will analyze those pitches which I hit home runs on the video,� he said.

The common features of Choi�s home runs this year are that he hits fastballs while pulling them.

Last year, there was only one pitch with which he hit a home run while pulling it. This year, Choi seems to learn the crucial hitting method of how to pull a ball as he has hit five home runs.

 


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