Choo Shin-Soo vs Ryu Hyun-Jin this weekend

It’s the Major League matchup Korea’s been waiting for all season, Choo Shin-soo versus Ryu Hyun-jin and it’s finally happening this weekend.

To give us a preview, SJ’s standing by at the sports center. SJ, I’m sure all of Korea will be glued to their televisions for this one

Guys, the next two weekends, are going to be huge for sports fans here in Korea. Next weekend, the Korean Zombie will be taking on Jose Aldo for the UFC Featherweight Championships and this weekend, it’s the “Choo Choo Train” Choo Shin-soo versus “The Monster” Ryu Hyun-jin.

The Cincinnati Reds are on the road against the L.A. Dodgers for a three-game series, although we’ll have to wait until the last game to see Ryu and Choo face off.

Lefty versus lefty.

Ryu will be looking for his 9th win.

Choo will be looking to help his Reds win by continuing with his monster season before hitting free agency.

via Arirang News.

UFC 163: Jose Aldo is not a better striker than Chan Sung Jung

Grace Kim

Grace Kim

Chan Sung Jung believes his striking is not inferior to that of UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo.

“We are similar in terms of striking. Many people think Aldo is superior to me in striking, but I don’t think so. The biggest difference is Aldo’s power in his striking. My style is weakening my opponent little by little. Aldo does it with one big KO strike.”

– Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweight title challenger Chan Sung Jung tells UFC.com that he believes his striking is nowhere as deficient as people are making it out to be when compared with his UFC 163 opponent Jose Aldo. “Scarface” is considered to be one of the best strikers in all of mixed martial arts (MMA) and his 13 career (technical) knockout victories prove that to be true. Jung, while respectable on the feet, has won a majority of his fights by submission and it would seem likely that his best chance of upsetting the Brazilian for the 145-pound title on Aug. 3, 2013 would be to take the fight to the ground. That may ultimately be what “The Korean Zombie” plans to do when the cage door closes, but he wants it to be known that if he equals or betters Aldo in the stand up department come fight night, you shouldn’t be surprised.

via UFC Quick Quote: Jose Aldo is not a better striker than Chan Sung Jung – MMAmania.com.

Shin-Soo Choo extends hitting streak to 14 as Reds reel in Pirates

The Cincinnati Reds edged the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-4 on Saturday to move within two games of their rivals in the National League Central division. The South Korean slugger Shin-Soo Choo extended his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games and Joey Votto drove in a pair of runs to lead the Reds, who have won the first two games in the series against the Pirates and are closing in on second place in the division.

via Shin-Soo Choo extends hitting streak to 14 as Reds reel in Pirates | Sport | guardian.co.uk.

Psy, Park In-bee and Ryu Hyun-jin – What do they have in common?

Sexy-Lady-psy-style-32727556-600-331
A diplomat in Seoul asked me: What do Korean superstars like  singer Psy, U.S. Ladies Professional Golf Association sensation Park In-bee and Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin have in common? I scratched my head over this difficult question. The diplomat joked all of three are chubby. He later revealed the correct answer is that these three personalities are currently some of the most famous Koreans in the world.

Apart from being famous, the three South Korean superstars mentioned above have many other traits in common. For one, they were born during boom periods in Korea. Psy was born in 1977 when Korea’s economy was just taking off; Ryu was born in 1987, just one year before the Seoul Summer Olympics; and Park was born in 1988, merely months before the said Olympics.

Sexy-Lady-psy-style-32913239-800-620Their parents devoted a significant portion of their earnings to their children’s education including their intensive English language training. Unlike their parents, Psy and Park have little trouble speaking in English, as seen in their interviews with major American TV shows.

Young people from Generations X and Y also differ from older ones from the baby boomer generation in their way of thinking perhaps because of differences in their education and social background. Psy, Ryu and Park grew up and were educated when Korea’s democracy and freedom were maturing. In contrast, their parents were educated in the 1970s and 1980s during periods of authoritarian rule.

Similarly, children from the younger generation have a more global outlook than their parents. These children were able to travel abroad freely once Korea scrapped its overseas travel ban in 1989. Those with rich parents, including Psy and Park, studied abroad. Under the nation’s political freedom and economic prosperity, and with opportunities for overseas study, children from this generation realized that Korea is not the only place they can realize their dream.

These young superstars did not have the inferiority complex older Koreans have, and thus, excelled in sports and cultural activities their parents were unable to pursue, like music, baseball and golf.


Even Psy admitted he was a problematic boy who was uninterested in school work. However, his parents allowed him to pursue music, which is what he has always wanted to do. As a college student in the U.S., he did not do well academically, but he learned about global culture and mastered spoken English.

This experience helped Psy learn how to appeal to a global audience. First, he composed songs using both Korean and English words. His hit songs “Big Brother Is Gangnam Style” and “Gentleman” highlight Gangnam, Seoul’s posh district, and its gentlemen. Second, Psy harnessed the power of social media including YouTube. Finally, he also learned about the power of humor and self deprecation — he made fun of himself in his two hit songs and has incorporated this humor in his music videos and stage performances. In the end, Psy became a global sensation. His first hit, “Oppan Gangnam Style,” was named one of the top quotations in The Yale Book of Quotations in 2012. Even UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said he wants to work with Psy on UN projects because of his global reach.

Park In-bee stole the global limelight after winning three straight major American golf titles including this year’s U.S. Women’s Open. At this rate, she has a strong chance of surpassing her idols Annika Sorenstam and Pak Se-ri. Many, perhaps even Tiger Woods, are in awe of her unprecedented putting skills. She has developed her own swing that is tailored to her physique and that few could imitate. She has honed her golf acumen by learning from coaching legends Butch Harmon and David Leadbetter.

People are in awe not only of her skills but also of her calmness on the course. She seldom loses composure even after a critical mistake. Many sports commentators credit her rise as the No. 1 player in the Women’s World Golf Rankings to her composure or mental strength. Her recent victories show that self-control is an important factor in winning highly competitive golf matches.

Left-handed Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Ryu has become well loved by both Korean and American baseball fans. He debuted in the U.S. Major League this year after making a name in the Korean league. Without enthusiastic fans in the Korean baseball league, he might not have been able to play in the U.S. league.

Despite their success, these superstars lack one important thing — significant involvement in charities. Like successful companies such as Samsung, Hyundai and Kia, or Korean TV dramas and Korean food, they need to help promote a positive image of the nation. The world watches everything they say and do, and thus, their reputations directly influence the image of Korea.

via Psy, Park In-bee and Ryu Hyun-jin.

Girls’ Generation to Sing National Anthem at LA Dodgers Game in game between Ryu Hyun Jin and Shin Soo Choo

Girl group Girls’ Generation was chosen to sing the national anthem at the Major League Baseball game for Choo Sin Soo and Ryu Hyun Jin.

They will perform on July 28 before the start of the LA Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds game. They decided to hold this special ceremony as it was the first time the two players met each other on the respective teams.

SM Entertainment stated, “Due to conflicting schedules, not all members will be able to attend. 3 or so members will be attending the ceremony.”

Player Ryu Hyun Jin and Girls’ Generation have met before. During the LA Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks game in May, Girls’ Generation member Tiffany threw the opening pitch.

They are holding this ceremony in conjunction to a ‘Korea Day’ event they are holding at the stadium. They are holding this event to spread more awareness about Korea and its culture.

No date has been confirmed yet for Girls’ Generation’s departure to LA.

via Girls’ Generation to Sing National Anthem at LA Dodgers Game | KpopStarz.

Son Heung-Min scores goal in debut for Bayer Leverkusen

The 21-year-old South Korean scored on his debut in a 2-1 defeat at the weekend against 1860 Munich, but ended up on the winning side in a comfortable run-out against the Serie A side.

Son Heung-Min scored again for new club Bayer Leverkusen in a 3-0 friendly win over Udinese 

Son joined Bayer from Bundesliga rivals Hamburg following the departure of Andre Schurrle to Chelsea.

via Bundesliga – European friendlies: Son keeps on scoring for Leverkusen – Yahoo! Eurosport UK.

This Korean pitcher should be in the MLB All-Star game

How is that physically possible?! I’ve watched the clip backwards and forwards — see below — and still have no idea how she contorts herself in that way. But anyhow, the pitch is amazingly accurate, and easily one of the greatest first pitches I’ve ever seen.The pitch was thrown by rhythmic gymnast Shin Soo-ji  in South Korea for the Doosan Bears, who were playing the Samsung Lions.

via Watch possibly the greatest first pitch ever | For The Win.

Watch possibly the greatest first pitch ever | For The Win

Han Hye Jin Says She′ll Try to Help Ki Sung Yueng Through His SNS Controversy

Han Hye Jin, who recently wed soccer player Ki Sung Yueng, opened up on the recent controversy surrounding the statements her husband made online.

The actress appeared at the press roundtable held on July 10 for SBS Healing Camp′s 100th episode, and was asked by press on whether she is aware that “some say it is a time when Ki Sung Yueng will need his wife′s support.”



The soccer player was recently criticized by netizens for leaving scathing remarks about former national soccer team manager Choi Kang Hee in a secret social network account.

On the issue, Han Hye Jin said, “I believe we′ll have to receive beatings when we have to since my husband and I both have jobs which exposes us to the public. We are trying to weather hard times right now, but I believe we′ll get a chance to rise again with time.”

She added, “Athletes need to keep their minds calm, so I believe I′ll have to help him in those aspects. We′ll learn through this incident and mature, and try to show a better side of ourselves in the future.”

Han Hye Jin will be leaving Healing Camp in late July to join her husband in Britain.

via Han Hye Jin Says She′ll Try to Help Ki Sung Yueng Through His SNS Controversy – Yahoo! OMG! Philippines.

Number one Asian gymnast Son Yeon jae to be a new brand model for Mr.Pizza

Korean rhythmic gymnast Son Yeon jae became a new face of pizza brand, Mr.Pizza.

Asia’s number one rhythmic gymnast Son Yeon jae became a new face for a pizza brand, Mr.Pizza. According to the brand, Son signed the contract for one year and she already shot an advertising of a new premium pizza.

Son Yeon jae is an excellent gymnast who has beautiful face and skills in her field. Son is only 20 years old but she achieved so many things in Korea’s rhythmic gymnastic history. Mr.Pizza has said that they chose this gymnast to appeal the brand’s young and passionate image through Son Yeon jae.

via Number one Asian gymnast Son Yeon jae to be a new brand model for Mr.Pizza – Yahoo! OMG! Philippines.

Cincinnati Reds: Shin-Soo Choo has game-winning hit in bottom of the 11th

Shin-Soo Choo realizes that one base hit does not automatically get a MLB player out of a hitting slump, but it doesn’t hurt.

Choo has been struggling for the Cincinnati Reds and entered Wednesday game with only five hits in his last 33 at-bats, but he delivered the walk-off single in the bottom of the 11th to give the Reds a 3-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants.

Reds manager Dusty Baker had been telling Choo to be patient during his slump and the base hits would come. He had two singles for the night. Playing a key role in a team’s win will also get a hitter’s confidence going in the right direction. That’s certainly what Choo and the Giants are hoping for right now.

What Choo especially liked about his game-winning hit was it came against lefthander Javier Lopez. Choo has been struggling against left-handers all season and it doesn’t hurt one’s confidence to get a game-winning hit off a lefty.

It’s wise for managers like Baker not to over-coach a player like Choo in this case when he’s struggling. To Baker’s credit, he had noticed Choo was swinging too hard and by correcting his mechanics, the base hits would eventually come.

via Cincinnati Reds: Shin-Soo Choo hoping walkoff win rejuvenates his bat.

Hank Conger-Choi hits 5th homerun and earning more playing time with Angels

HOUSTON — The last time Angels reserve catcher Hank Conger spoke to reporters in Minute Maid Park, it was after his worst game of the season, a three-error night in a 7-6 loss to the Astros.It was a different story Friday afternoon. Conger, who played sparingly in April and sporadically in May, was in the lineup for the second straight game, the combination of starter Chris Iannetta’s struggles and Conger’s improved overall play leading to more opportunity for the backup.“I’m proud of how I bounced back after that game and didn’t let it affect me,” said Conger, whose throwing woes in spring training and early in the season cost him playing time. “I’m feeling more comfortable behind the plate — that’s the biggest thing.”Defense is always the priority for Manager Mike Scioscia’s catchers. It doesn’t matter if they hit like Johnny Bench — or Mike Napoli, for that matter. If they aren’t adept at handling pitchers, receiving the ball, blocking balls in the dirt and controlling the running game, they’re going to lose playing time.Conger, who is batting .253 with four home runs and 10 runs batted in in 38 games, has long been considered a more offensive-minded catcher, but his defense is starting to catch up with his bat, so much so that he’s been starting two or three games a week this month.“He’s definitely receiving the ball well and making more consistent throws,” said Scioscia, a former Dodgers catcher. “He’s played well enough to earn more playing time and take a little of the burden off of Chris.”Conger entered Friday having thrown out seven of 22 base-stealers, a 32% success rate that is much higher than Iannetta’s 11% rate six of 55, though Iannetta has caught six of the nine games started by Tommy Hanson, who is notoriously bad at holding runners on. Since May 7, Conger has committed two errors in 16 games.“Confidence is definitely a big thing,” said Conger, who is working with bullpen coach Steve Soliz and bullpen catcher Tom Gregorio on muscle memory drills and visualizing a target. “If you see a runner going or anticipate him going, you have the feeling you’re going to throw him out.“When things are going bad, you have that sense of doubt. You try to block it out, but that’s easier said than done. This hasn’t been an overnight thing. I’ve worked my way up to where I am now, where I’m feeling confident behind the plate.”

via Hank Conger earning more playing time with Angels – latimes.com.

UFC 163 (August 3rd, 2013): Chan Sung Jung feels bad about getting title shot over Ricardo Lamas

Ricardo Lamas is probably not very happy right now. He was originally scheduled to face Chan Sung Jung in a surefire number one contender featherweight bout at UFC 162 on July 6th. But now, due to an Anthony Pettis injury, Lamas isn’t fighting at all and his opponent was granted the shot against Jose Aldo.

The Korean Zombie (13-3) was interviewed by Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting recently, and he says that he feels bad about getting the spot over Lamas. But he’s not going to pass it up, because he’s very excited about it.

First off, he explained his reaction to finding out the news:

I was jumping around. I was so excited. At first, when my manager told me, I didn’t believe him. I thought he was playing a joke on me. I couldn’t fall asleep until I saw Dana White‘s tweet about the fight.

He thinks his time off (he’s been out since May 2012 after shoulder surgery) will help him more than hurt him, and says that he’s in fighting shape. Then the topic turned to Lamas and his missed opportunity:

I do feel bad about it. I honestly think he was next in line, due to my time off, but I was told I was getting the next title shot after the Poirier fight. While I do feel bad for him, I wouldn’t give this opportunity up for the world.

So how is he going to beat Aldo?

I think we all know that, objectively, his technique is impeccable. So, I think it comes down to the intangibles — the mental game. That’s where I have to beat him.

All I can say is that I can’t wait for August 3rd. I might be in the minority on this, but I like this bout way more than Aldo/Pettis and I’m ridiculously excited for it.

via UFC 163: Chan Sung Jung feels bad about getting title shot over Ricardo Lamas – Bloody Elbow.

Koreans takes top three spots in U.S. Women’s Open. Inbee Park wins 3rd major in a row

So Yeon Ryu

Inbee Park of South Korea methodically marched to history Sunday at seaside Sebonack Golf Club with an authoritative four-stroke victory in the 68th U.S. Women’s Open, joining Babe Zaharias as the only players in LPGA history to win the first three major championships of the season.

With a final-round 2-over-par-74, the world No. 1 kept runner-up I.K. Kim (74) at bay throughout the cloudy day and now is three-fifths of the way toward an unprecedented sweep of all five majors on the LPGA tour’s calendar this season.

In a nod toward her native country, perhaps it should be called the Da-seot (five in Korean) Slam?

“I think I have a heartbeat. I don’t know if Inbee has one,” said Karrie Webb, a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame who has won seven majors. She tied for 13th. “You can obviously feel for someone like I.K. Kim who would be winning any other U.S. Open on this golf course if it weren’t for Inbee.

“Sometimes it’s just not good enough when someone is as hot as Inbee is.”

Park finished at 8-under 280 to win her second U.S. Women’s Open and then was doused in champagne by defending champion Na Yeon Choi and So Yeon Ryu. Kim finished at 4-under 284. Ryu, the 2011 winner of this championship, was the only other player to finish in red numbers at 1 under with a closing 72. Paula Creamer, the 2010 winner, shot 72 and tied for fourth with Angela Stanford (74) and Jodi Ewart Shadoff (76) at 1 over. Asian players have won the last 10 majors.

“I just hope this is not a dream,” Park said. “It feels great. It feels great to put my name on this trophy twice. That just means so much. … It was a tough day out there. The golf course was playing tough. I tried to stay calm, and I think I did. I really stayed calm out there, and I just didn’t know what I was doing out there. If I knew what I was doing (in terms of history), I think I wouldn’t be able to stand.”…

I.K. Kim

via Inbee Park wins U.S. Women’s Open; 3rd major in a row.

RANK PLAYER TODAY THRU TO PAR 1 2 3 4 TOTAL WINNINGS
1 Inbee Park +2 F -8 67 68 71 74 280 $582,500
2 I.K. Kim +2 F -4 68 69 73 74 284 $350,000
3 So Yeon Ryu 0 F -1 73 69 73 72 287 $217,958
T4 Angela Stanford +2 F +1 73 68 74 74 289 $127,972
T4 Paula Creamer 0 F +1 72 73 72 72 289 $127,972
T4 Jodi Ewart Shadoff +4 F +1 70 69 74 76 289 $127,972

Bobcats GM Rich Cho makes surprise pick Cody Zeller at No. 4

Bobcats select Zeller with No. 4 pick

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte Bobcats selected Indiana center Cody Zeller with the No. 4 pick in the NBA draft.

Bobcats general manager Rich Cho said earlier in the week the team needed a big man, and the 7-foot, 240-pound Zeller should provide some needed help in the low post and on the boards.

The Bobcats finished last in the league in defensive rebound percentage last season.

Zeller, a former Lewiston, Minn., resident, averaged 16.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game as a sophomore for the Hoosiers last season. He finished as Indiana’s career record holder in field-goal percentage, shooting 59.1 percent from the floor.

It marked the first time ever two Hoosiers were selected in the top four picks in the NBA draft; Victor Oladipo was selected second overall by Orlando.

The Bobcats chose Zeller over two other available centers — Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel and Maryland’s Alex Len — as well as guard Ben McLemore from Kansas with the fourth selection. The Bobcats might have shied away from Noel and Len because of injury concerns.

Zeller was the only of the top seven picks to work out for Charlotte prior to the draft. The Bobcats have struggled to find a post player for years and missed out last year on drafting center Anthony Davis when New Orleans won the No. 1 pick in the NBA lottery. Zeller is considered a solid post player who runs the floor well but he might not be as athletic as the other centers the Bobcats passed over.

The pick wasn’t received well by Bobcats fans gathered for a draft night party at the team’s arena. A loud chorus of boos erupted after the selection was announced with some throwing hats and others raising their arms in disbelief.

Zeller started 72 games during his career at Indiana. A first-team All-Big Ten selection last season, Zeller ranked fourth in the conference and helped Indiana to a No. 1 ranking in the country during the latter portion of the season. He ranked in the top five in the conference in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage. As a freshman, Zeller averaged 15.6 points and 6.6 rebounds with 1.2 blocks per game.

Zeller comes from a basketball family. His older brother Tyler plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers after playing at North Carolina. Another brother Luke played a portion of last season with the Phoenix Suns after a career at Notre Dame. The boys’ uncle, Al Eberhard, spent four seasons with the Detroit Pistons.

via Bobcats select Zeller with No. 4 pick.

Multiple German teams out to acquire Ji Dong-won

star1South Korean footballer Ji Dong-won, who starred for a German Bundesliga club in the latter part of the last season, has received offers from multiple clubs in the same league, a football source said Friday.

Ji, originally under contract with Sunderland in the English Premier League, was loaned to FC Augsburg in the top German circuit in January. After not appearing in a single game for Sunderland at the start of the 2012-2013 season, Ji played 17 games for FC Augsburg and scored five goals.

Ji’s play helped FC Augsburg finish 15th among 18 clubs and avoid relegation to the second division for next season. In the Bundesliga, the two worst teams are automatically relegated to the lower tier, while the 16th-ranked team must take on the third-best team from the second division in a relegation playoff.

According to the source, privy to the transfer market in European football, half a dozen Bundesliga clubs have shown interest in the 22-year-old forward.

“Borussia Dortmund (ranked second behind Bayern Munich last season) is among the six teams hoping to acquire Ji Dong-won,” the source said. “Ji plans to stay in the Bundesliga rather than return to Sunderland. His destination will be determined in early July.”

The source said only Bundesliga clubs have expressed interest in Ji, adding, “Given the way he performed, Ji is a better fit in the Bundesliga than in the Premier League.”

Another football source said Bundesliga clubs value Ji’s versatility.

“He is not particularly fast, but he’s great at penetrating through open space,” the source said. “He can play up front as the featured striker or can also play on the wing.”

The second source said Ji is seen as a valuable commodity thanks to his young age and to the fact that he won’t have to do military service otherwise mandatory for South Korean men.

Ji was a member of South Korea’s bronze medal-winning team at the 2012 London Olympics. Male athletes who win an Olympic medal of any color receive exemptions from the two-plus years of service and are only required to undergo four weeks of basic training.

Ji left the Chunnam Dragons of South Korea’s K League Classic to sign with Sunderland in June 2011. In his first season, he found the net twice in 19 matches, but never left the bench in his second season before bolting for Germany.

Ji played with fellow South Korean midfielder Koo Ja-cheol on FC Augsburg. Son Heung-min, a third South Korean in the Bundesliga, recently left Hamburger SV to join Bayer Leverkusen on a five-year deal, after scoring a career-high 12 goals, tying him for ninth in the league.

via Multiple German teams out to acquire Ji Dong-won: source | GlobalPost.

Yankees Hiroki Kuroda and Ichiro Suzuki play well to beat Hyun-Jin Ryo and Dodgers

It was a day of many firsts for manager Don Mattingly and the Dodgers on Wednesday at the Stadium, but it was Hiroki Kuroda who earned the victory in his first career start against his former team.

Kuroda navigated his way through 6-2/3 innings of two-run ball — and Ichiro Suzuki ripped a key home run and drove in three — as the Yanks held on in the afternoon portion of a separate-admission doubleheader for a 6-4 win in the Dodgers’ first regular-season game in the Bronx in their history, and their first appearance here since Game 6 of the 1981 World Series.

The game also featured the Bronx debut of Dodgers rookie Yasiel Puig, and the Cuban sensation had the crowd buzzing throughout, including being struck out looking by Yanks closer Mariano Rivera for the final out.

Kuroda, making his first career start against the team he pitched for from 2008-2011, scattered eight hits and took a shutout into the seventh, when the Dodgers scored twice to shave the Yanks’ lead to 3-2. Kuroda improved to 8-2 with a 2.22 ERA in 13 daytime starts as a Yankee over the past two seasons.

Ichiro provided the Yanks’ third run with a leadoff shot to right against Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu in the sixth, his first homer in 115 at-bats since May 10. Ichiro went 3-4 with 3 RBIs.

via Hiroki Kuroda and Yankees drop Dodgers in Don Mattingly’s return to Bronx  – NY Daily News.

video: Lee Nguyen nearly scored the equalizer against the Whitecaps over the weekend

 

VIDEO – Lee’s shot at 9:20

Revolution midfielder Lee Nguyen, seen here matching up against Lee Young Pyo in last year’s contest vs. the Whitecaps, nearly equalized late in stoppage time in Saturday’s 4-3 loss in Vancouver.

4. Aside from this stoppage time blast, Lee Nguyen’s set pieces and shooting didn’t help his team’s cause on Saturday. It’s a shame that someone of Nguyen’s obvious talent and ability continues to struggle on any ball launched longer than 20 yards. With his club down a man, and down a goal (then two goals after Miller’s second strike), the Revolution sure could have used a fortuitous free kick to pull themselves back into the contest. Nguyen’s first free kick was not only off-target, but it curled away from frame. His shots from outside the area weren’t as poorly executed, yet they weren’t much better. If Nguyen’s going to be ambitious, he’s got to improve his technique. This isn’t to say he cost the Revolution a point on Saturday. Hardly. But when opportunities present themselves on the road, and the team’s down a man, there’s really no excuse for sending shots yards above the bar or wide of the post, or issuing a comically-errant inswinger.

via Five Things We Learned: Revolution at Whitecaps.

UFC Girl Kang Ye Bin Shows Off Body at Health Club

Kang Ye Bin showed off her sexy body at a health club! (Fitness Center) On June 10 she wrote on her me2day, “This is what I wear every day when I work out. Tomorrow morning I am going to appear in a live broadcast. Please cheer on my appearance on home shopping.” The me2day post was accompanied by 4 pictures showing Kang Ye Bin working out.

Netizens that have come across the picture stated, “Kang Ye Bin’s body is the best,” “Kang Ye Bin, I wish you would stop showing off your body,” “I think she really works out hard,” and “I am envious of her body.”

Kang Ye Bin is a model and actress. She has appeared in the 2011 film “Pitch High.” Recently she has joined the 12th season of tvN’s “Rude Miss Young Ae.”

via Kang Ye Bin Shows Off Sexy Body at Health Club | Soompi.

Dodgers’ Ryu Gives Sales of Baseball Merchandise a Boost

Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin has been credited with giving sales of baseball merchandise in Korea a lift.

“Sales of items related to the sport were fairly flat. But as Ryu has continued to put in solid performances, they have been picking up since May,” said one industry insider who deals with domestic distribution.

According to large discount store E-Mart, sales of baseball products climbed 6.7 percent in May from one year earlier, but were up a staggering 198 percent from April. In contrast, on-year sales in April slumped 12.5 percent.

May saw a rapid turnaround, however, with sales of replica Wilson gloves, akin to those used by Ryu, soaring 194.1 percent on-month.

“As Ryu has been doing brilliantly in the MLB, baseball goods are getting more popular among teenagers as well as customers in their 20s and 30s. This seems to be due to the reviving popularity of baseball in Korea,” said Ji Heon-seok at E-Mart.

via The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition): Daily News from Korea – Dodgers' Ryu Gives Sales of Baseball Merchandise a Boost.

Dodgers’ pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin tops poll of favorite athletes

SEOUL, June 4 (Yonhap) — Ryu Hyun-jin, a starting pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, was picked as South Korea’s favorite athlete in a national survey released on Tuesday.

According to Gallup Korea, Ryu, the left-hander in his first Major League Baseball (MLB) season, earned 28.1 percent of support in the May 27-30 survey.

Gallup Korea polled 1,216 people nationwide at least 19 years of age, and the polled could select up to two athletes.

Figure skater Kim Yu-na was second behind Ryu with 24.6 percent of support.

Ryu signed with the Dodgers last December after dominating the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) for seven seasons with the Hanwha Eagles. He became the first South Korean to make the jump from the KBO to the big leagues.

Ryu is enjoying a fine rookie season, with a 6-2 record and a 2.89 ERA in 11 starts. He has struck out 67 batters in 71 2/3 innings, and pitched his first complete game shutout over the Los Angeles Angels last Tuesday.

Ryu missed his last scheduled start against the Colorado Rockies on Monday with a foot injury. He took a comebacker off his left foot in the match against the Angels last week, but is scheduled to return to the rotation on Friday against the Atlanta Braves.

Gallup Korea said 51 percent of men in their 30s picked Ryu as their favorite athlete.

Park Ji-sung, midfielder for the Queens Park Rangers (QPR) in English football, came in at third with 15.5 percent. Park, who served as QPR’s captain early in the Premier League season, had a subpar season and couldn’t prevent the team from being relegated to the second division for next year.

Choo Shin-soo, outfielder for the Cincinnati Reds and one of two South Koreans in the majors this year beside Ryu, ranked fourth at 14.8 percent. Rhythmic gymnast Son Yeon-jae ranked fifth at 11.1 percent.

Rounding out the top 10 were: Ki Sung-yueng, midfielder for Swansea City in the English Premier League; Park Tae-hwan, an Olympic swimming star; Lee Dae-ho, slugger for the Orix Buffaloes in Japanese baseball; Son Heung-min, forward for Hamburger SV in Germany’s Bundesliga; and Lee Seung-yeop, first baseman for the Samsung Lions in the KBO.

Lee Seung-yeop, who owns the KBO’s single season record for home runs with 56, is the only South Korea-based pro athlete in the top 10.

via Dodgers’ pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin tops poll of favorite athletes | YONHAP NEWS.

Gangnam-style wedding for Swansea City’s Korean star Ki Sung Yueng and bride Han Hye-jin

Swansea City’s South Korean international Ki Sung Yueng is to have a “Gangnam style” wedding next month to actress and TV presenter Han Hye-jin.

The pair have announced they will wed in a  luxury hotel in the Gangnam district of Seoul on July 1.

The bustling city centre district became world famous because of Gangnam Style – the smash hit dance anthem by South Korean pop star PSY which took the world by storm.

The dynamic video for the hit became YouTube’s most-watched of 2012, amassing a whopping 983m views.

The wedding of 24-year-old ex-FC Seoul and Celtic midfielder Ki and Han Hye-jin, a popular TV presenter and movie actress in South Korea, will be one of the social events of the year in Gangnam.

The pair are regarded as the “Posh and Becks” of South Korea given Han’s glittering entertainment world career and Ki’s status as one of South Korea’s leading international football stars.

Speaking in Seoul, 31-year-old Han said this week: “I’m getting married on July 1. We promised to tie the knot and become one.”

She added: “Ki can only make time for our wedding during his vacation.

“If we miss the opportunity this year, we’ll have to wait until next year, so we thought this time would be best in consideration of the importance of the next football season for him.”

The couple will have a private family wedding at the InterContinental Hotel in Samseong-dong, Gangnam, which is equipped with a towering “skybar” enjoying panoramic views over Seoul.

Gangnam is known as the “Mayfair of Seoul”, a high-rise district in a modern, upmarket shopping area which features the huge Korean World Trade Centre seen in the Gangnam Style video.

Despite its modern looks, Gangnam does feature one large, traditional temple, Bongeun.

Han told a Korean newspaper: “We decided to rent wedding clothes and exchange only wedding rings.

“We chose a wedding hall that could accommodate a lot of people, but it will be far from a luxury wedding.”

Han’s agency Namoo Actors said: “Han wanted to forestall groundless rumours about her marriage.

“She will travel back and forth between Britain and Korea while continuing her career after the marriage.”

Gangnam is one of the 25 gu (local government districts) which make up the city of Seoul, Gangnam literally meaning South of the (Han) River.

The couple met two years ago at a charity football match in Vietnam. They began dating in January and only went public with their relationship in March.

One giveaway was that Ki’s boots suddenly became custom imprinted with HJ SY 24 (HJ for Hye-jin, SY for Sung-Yueng, and 24 for Ki’s Swansea City kit number).

On Ki’s Facebook page, the player wrote: “To be honest, I’ve been thinking about marrying Han Hye Jin since when I first started dating her.”

And talking of the difficulties of being a celebrity couple he said: “Both she and I thought about all the challenges we have faced.

“Since we receive great attention from other people due to the nature of our jobs, things have been rather difficult.”

But he added of Han: “She’s someone I could lean on throughout the rest of my life.”

Ki, of Gwanju, South Korea, now a leading member of the South Korean national side, played football in Australia before returning to play for FC Seoul then Scottish giants Celtic.

On August 24, 2012, Ki transferred to Swansea City for around £6m on a three-year deal making his debut for the Swans in a 3–1 victory against Barnsley in the second round of the League Cup on August 28, 2012.

Han Hye-jin, from Seoul, made her breakthrough in 2005 when she starred as a young widow in her 20s working as an outgoing hairdresser in the hit daily drama Be Strong, Geum-soon!.

Among her leading roles include So Seo-no in the historical epic Jumong, about Korea’s first female doctor of Western medicine in Jejungwon, and a sharpshooter in the movie 26 Years.

She is also one of the lead hosts of the popular South Korean talk show Healing Camp.

via Gangnam-style wedding for Swansea City’s Korean star Ki Sung Yueng and bride Han Hye-jin – Wales Online.

Cincinnati Reds’ Shin-Soo Choo’s stock rising in contract year

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CINCINNATI — A revelation who has already exceeded high expectations, center fielder Shin-Soo Choo has been everything and more than the win-now Reds had hoped he’d be from the leadoff spot this season.

At the same time, Choo provides Reds fans with mixed emotions. While there is enjoyment and excitement about the present, there is also angst and concern for what might happen beyond the 2013 season. That’s when Choo can become a free agent.

“I get asked the question a lot: ‘Choo, where do you want to go and where do you want to play?’” said Choo, who was acquired by Cincinnati from the Indians in a three-team trade last offseason.

Through just more than a quarter of the season, Choo is batting .300 with a team-leading nine home runs, 19 RBIs and a Major League-leading 12 hit-by-pitches in 45 games. His .449 on-base percentage is second behind teammate Joey Votto in the National League, and it buries the .254 OBP Cincinnati got from various leadoff hitters in 2012.

“I think he’s fit in real well,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. “He’s really become a great teammate that I think is well admired by his teammates. He’s been just a big plus to our club. He is the lift we were looking for, offensively.”

Choo, who turns 31 on July 13, has provided excellent production, not just for a surging 29-18 Reds team seeking to repeat as division champions of the NL Central and reach the World Series, but for Choo himself. It’s the kind of year any player about to hit the open market would want.

It also means Choo, who is making $7.3 million this season, won’t be a cheap re-sign. He is expected to be a headlining name among next winter’s free-agent class.

In other words, Reds fans, enjoy Choo while he’s around and don’t take his time in Cincinnati for granted.

via Cincinnati Reds' Shin-Soo Choo's stock rising in contract year | MLB.com: News.

Korean Gymnast Son Yeon-jae now star in her own right

To be clear, Son Yeon-jae, the photo-friendly rhythmic gymnast, has always been uber-popular, evidenced by her ubiquitous presence in television commercials and print ads. But that had more to do with her being a rare athlete who was prettier than most supermodels and film actresses.

Now, it’s impossible not to take her seriously as an athlete. Since her surprising fifth-place finish at last year’s London Olympics, the 19-year-old has been showing rapid improvement in international competitions, giving men an excuse to stare at the television for longer.

Son ended the recent World Cup event in Minsk, Belarus, with two silver medals in hoops and clubs, becoming the first Korean ever to win multiple medals at a World Cup competition, which secured an overall fourth-place finish.

Son appears to be in the midst of the best season of her career. She started the year by winning a bronze in clubs at the Moscow Grand Prix in March. She finished ninth all-around and third in ribbons at the Lisboa World Cup in April and a sliver in ribbon at Pesaro weeks later.

In Sofia, Bulgaria, earlier this month, Son finished fourth all-around and shared the bronze medal in hoops with Ukrainian Ganna Rizatdinova. Her next goal is to win a gold in the Asian Championships in June and set a personal best at the World Championships in August.

”I have been competing in more international competitions than before and I think that the quality of my performance is becoming more consistent as I gain the weight of experience,’’ Son had told reporters before leaving for Minsk.

”The Asian Championships will be a preview of the Asian Games competition next year in Incheon, so I am certainly looking to show my best there.  Korea has never won a gold medal in rhythmic gymnastics in the Asian Games, and my goal is to deliver the first one. I will participate in as many competitions as I can before the August World Championships.’’

A performance that mixes balls, hoops, ribbons and juggling clubs, rhythmic gymnastics requires a high level of athleticism and artistic expression from competitors. And this is a sport that has been thoroughly dominated by athletes from Russia and Eastern Europe, while barely registering in the public consciousness elsewhere.

Korea’s definitely interested now: MBC television, the country’s second-biggest television station, yanked a popular late-night comedy show Sunday night to provide live coverage of Son’s performance in Sofia. That marked the third time the network rescheduled the show in less than a month to follow Son at her World Cup events.

via Gymnast Son Yeon-jae now star in own right.

Hyun-Jin Ryu’s rookie card has embarrassing error

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu is looking pretty good in his first MLB season, after being imported from South Korea for more than $60 million. While he’s doing a good job at baffling MLB hitters, Ryu’s also confused some other folks.

Case in point: Remember when a TV broadcast invented an entirely different past for him? Looks like baseball-card maker Topps has done the same. Ryu’s recently released rookie card in Topps’ Bowman brand, says he played baseball in Japan before coming to America.

As far as baseball card errors go, that’s not catastrophic. It’s definitely not as controversial as Billy Ripken’s obscenity card. But it is flat-out wrong.

You can see how, here in America, an Average Joe could mix up two Asian countries. But those are two very different places. It’s like an Andrew Luck rookie card saying the star quarterback went to USC instead of Stanford.

Not the end of the world, but definitely worth a facepalm.

via Hyun-Jin Ryu’s rookie card has embarrassing error | Big League Stew – Yahoo! Sports.

Trailer: MLB’s Shin-Soo Choo and Ryu Hyun-Jin Appear in Korean Baseball Film

The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition): Daily News from Korea - MLB's Choo, Ryu Appear in Korean Baseball Film

Ryu Hyun-jin of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Choo Shin-soo of the Cincinnati Reds both make cameo performances in Kim Yong-hwa’s film soon-to-be-released “Mr. Go.”

The two came to appear in the movie as they are acquainted with the director. The movie will hit local theaters in July.

/Courtesy of Showbox Mediaplex

“Mr. Go,” based on the work of famous cartoonist Hur Young-man, tells the story of a gorilla with a special skillset who joins a professional baseball team in Korea and becomes a superstar.

Ryu, Choo and real-life players from the Doosan Bears in Korea’s professional league appear as teammates who are amazed by the talented primate’s batting skills.

“Ryu and Choo’s acting abilities are on par with their excellent baseball skills, and they both seemed excited about their first appearance on the silver screen,” said Showbox, the film’s distributor.

via The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition): Daily News from Korea – MLB's Choo, Ryu Appear in Korean Baseball Film.

Shin-Soo Choo finally gives Reds good leadoff hitter

Shin-Soo Choo hasn’t been just one of the best leadoff hitters, he’s been one of the best hitters.

ST. LOUIS — The baseball season is a process. A systematic series of countless decisions and actions building on each other every day for 162 games directed at one end: the postseason.

So, when on May 6 we see Shin-Soo Choo ranking second in the National League to teammate Joey Votto in on-base percentage (.463 to .464), leading in offensive WAR (2.0) and batting .331, a fair question to ask: Will the Cincinnati Reds center fielder keep up this production?

“He’s only going to get, I think, better once he knows the league,” manager Dusty Baker said last week. “Right now he’s going on video and word of mouth from people until he forms his own book so to speak.”

Since Baker became the Reds’ manager they’ve struggled to get consistent production from the leadoff spot. That’s six seasons. Last year, they won their second division title in three years even though they had the worst leadoff production in the majors — an abysmal .254 OBP.

Leading Off

How the Reds have ranked in on-base percentage from their leadoff hitters under Dusty Baker:

Year OBP MLB rank

2013 .467 1st

2012 .254 30th

2011 .343 8th

2010 .306 27th

2009 .302 29th

2008 .326 24th

“The hardest thing to find is a leadoff man that can hit as best as [Choo] can hit and drive in runs and hit with power,” Baker said. “So, there’s a lot of dynamics there.”

The Reds acquired Choo from the Indians this past December in a three-team deal involving nine players. Choo said the media are often asking him why he’s having such a great start, but he’s been a good player for years. While he played under the radar in Cleveland, Choo’s career .385 OBP ranks 10th among active players (minimum 1,500 plate appearances).

“Actually, my career, every year is a slow start,” Choo said. “You know, I’m not changing anything mechanically. Mechanics I’m not changing, but I think my mind is more comfortable this year.”

Hitters have to enjoy the process of baseball. If one bad at-bat starts to get in their head it can turn into several, then eventually, a longer struggle at the plate. Branch Rickey once said, “If things don’t come easy, there is no premium on effort. There should be joy in the chase, zest in the pursuit.” This is a good description of Choo this year.

Baker says his center fielder is a perfectionist and a very hard worker. He often tells Choo to take the pressure off himself. This has helped.

“Sometimes it can be counter-productive,” Baker said. “But I’d rather have that than the other guy that doesn’t care.”

Choo also attributes his comfort level at the plate to the good hitters — Votto, Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips — batting behind him and also to the change in his mentality. Hitters will often say when things are going well they moved from “I have to get a hit” to “I can get a hit.”

Choo says this is exactly what has happened. “Some days I feel more focused,” he said. “I think before, I [thought] about the whole at-bat; this year I think about every pitch.”

Not only has Choo adjusted to a new league, he also changed positions, from right field to center, a move many in the analytical community argued was a questionable decision by the Reds considering Choo’s defensive metrics last year were poor.

“I’m covering a lot of ground in center field,” Choo said. “My career, I spent like 99 percent in right field. … Center field, it’s a lot of movement in the gaps.”

Before games the Reds are helping Choo with his positioning, using scouting information on each hitter. First-base coach Billy Hatcher and right fielder Bruce have been a huge help, as well.

“The biggest adjustment of being in center field is being in charge because when he was in right or left somebody else was in charge,” Baker said. “There’s a lot more running. He enjoys the challenge and feels very badly if he doesn’t make [the play].”

So far, Choo’s metrics show him struggling with his range — his minus-7 defensive runs saved is the worst among major league outfielders (tied with Seattle’s Mike Morse).

The NL Central could be a tight four-team race all year long and for now the Reds will live with the defense as long as Choo keeps getting on base more than 40 percent of the time.

Free agency is also looming after this season for Choo.

“You know, a lot of people ask me ‘Do you want to stay in Cincinnati, you are a free agent this year?’ Actually, I don’t know why but I feel more comfortable this year,” he said. “I’m not really worried about free agency.”

Choo thinks about this for a minute then he begins to understand why he feels this way.

“I know why,” he said. “Cincinnati lost two top prospects, then [they] bring me here so they want me here. So [I'm focusing] on a healthy year. … Always, my goal is to be better than last year. That’s my goal every year. So I want to get better every year.”

Looking at it in very simplistic terms, professional baseball players are paid to hit and catch the ball. It is their job. Why would it matter if mentally a baseball player doesn’t feel quite right? Yet, we hear this over and over again from players, coaches, managers and front office personnel: the mental state of a ballplayer affects production. Choo agreed.

“I think good things always becoming more true,” he said.

via Shin-Soo Choo finally gives Reds good leadoff hitter – ESPN.

Kim Yuna tries out double-eyelids look for ‘Romanson’

Kim Yuna surprised everyone by shooting her latest CF and pictorial with a new look!

Kim Yuna, who is famous for her beautiful mono-eyelid eyes, underwent a transformation as the makeup artists created a double-eyelid look, most likely using the special glue or tape, for the watch brand ‘Romanson‘ pictorial. The figure skater stops time with her timeless beauty and contrary to her lively performances on stage, she shows a more serene image in the photos.

Check out the shots up close through the previously released interview clip below. Do you like the double-eyelid look on her?

via Kim Yuna tries out double-eyelids look for ‘Romanson’.

Cincinnati Reds: Shin-Soo Choo keys offensive explosion

From Todd Frazier‘s three-run triple, to Joey Votto‘s third homer of the 2013 season, you’ll find no shortage of offensive heroes after the Cincinnati Reds‘ 10-6 (not as close as it looks) rout of the Miami Marlins on Sunday.

Where it all started and ended, however, was with Shin-Soo Choo.

In fact, until the leadoff man sparked a eight-run offensive explosion in the seventh inning, the two teams had actually been involved in a 2-2 deadlock, with the potential for Cincinnati to come out of the weekend with a disappointing series split looming rather large.

Choo, though, made sure it wouldn’t happen. It all began with an innocent-looking walk — something he’d done in 11.4 percent of his career plate appearances. The next thing you knew, the 30-year old found himself at the plate again, the team had just scored six runs, and the center fielder ended a very bad day for Jon Rauch with a RBI double on a 3-2 count.

Just to top it off, he came around the plate to score the final Reds run of the inning.

Forget for a moment the brief and unlikely display of baseball symmetry — what the seventh inning really highlights is just how much value Choo has for the Reds, whether it’s a simple act of getting on base to rattle the opposing pitcher or using his power to deliver the final dagger.

The team’s big offseason acquisition has been all that, and then some. Buoyed by a sky-high .469 BABIP, Choo’s  .382/.523/.632 triple-slash through 89 PA makes him not only the best leadoff man in MLB right now, but one of the game’s best players, period.

It isn’t all luck, either — the outfielder is zoned in on the baseball these days, hitting everything hard (25 percent line drive rate vs. 22.1 percent career, no infield hits thus far).

Now, the incredible 219 wRC+ and 1.155 OPS won’t hold through the season, but that he has a career-low 18 percent strikeout rate through nearly 100 PA is a strong sign that Choo could be on his way to topping his 5.9 fWAR career year in 2010.

He did get all almost all of his crooked numbers in one inning on Sunday, but that he has the ability to make that happen just goes further to show how much he can affect the Reds’ offense as their once-missing piece of the puzzle.

via Cincinnati Reds: Shin-Soo Choo keys offensive explosion.

Dodgers rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu set to make debut on April 2

PHOENIX – Hyun-Jin Ryu is scheduled to make his major league debut April 2 in the Dodgers’ second game of the regular season.

The Dodgers had the choice of starting either Ryu or Chad Billingsley on that day. But Billingsley’s pitching schedule has been altered, ruling him out for April 2.

To keep both on schedule to potentially pitch April 2, the Dodgers had planned for Ryu and Billingsley to throw in separate games on Thursday in Southern California.

Ryu will pitch in the opening game of the Freeway Series in Anaheim.

A rookie left-hander from South Korea, Ryu held the Chicago White Sox to one hit over seven innings in his most recent start. Ryu has posted a 3.86 earned-run average in six spring appearances.

via Dodgers rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu set to make debut on April 2 – latimes.com.

Patrick Chan wins third straight world figure skating title

On Friday night in Ontario, 22-year-old Canadian skater Patrick Chan won his third consecutive world figure skating title, becoming the first men’s singles skater in 13 years to win three straight championships: World figure skating championships: Canada’s Patrick Chan wins third straight title.

Victory number three wasn’t flawless. Heck, it was pretty darn dreadful — he fell twice during his free skate to La Boheme — but he came into the evening with a huge seven-point lead, thanks to a strong world-record short program score of 98.37:

Thanks to a world-record short program, Chan took a huge seven-point lead into a free skate that was indicative of his topsy-turvy season — an error-filled four-and-half minutes to “La Boheme” that included a couple of falls and downgraded jumps.

“I definitely was disappointed in myself because I really wanted to go out there and have a short program moment,” he said. “The moment wasn’t as good as it could have been, but it was nonetheless very special.”

Dressed in a V-neck white shirt under a blue vest, Chan opened with two huge quads and looked headed for certain victory. But he had uncharacteristic fall on a triple Lutz, a jump he could land in his sleep, then went splat on his triple Axel — the jump that’s always been his nemesis — en route to 267.78 points.

Meanwhile, 19-year-old Denis Ten of Kazakhstan took the silver medal, earning his first-ever finish on the podium and giving his country its first world championship medal: New world order in men’s skating.

And of course, Kim Yu-na of South Korea, returning spectacularly after a year and a half out of competition, took the women’s gold. Like you never missed her. Here’s video of her exquisite performance to music from Les Miserables: 2013 ISU Figure Skating World Championship: Women’s Free Skate: Kim Yuna wins.

via Patrick Chan wins third straight world figure skating title.

When rhythmic gymnast Son Yeon jae meets the world class designer

Korean rhythmic gymnast Son Yeon jae is popular with her cute and pure image and her shapely figure. On March 6th, Son Yeon jae had a chance to meet World class designer at FILA 2013 FW Sales meeting. At the event place Son Yeon jae met Ginny Hilfiger. Ginny Hilfiger is the creative director of FILA.Meanwhile, Son Yeon jae is currently working as the main model of FILA.

via When rhythmic gymnast Son Yeon jae meets the world class designer – Yahoo! OMG! Philippines.

Shin-Soo Choo keeps up scorching spring with new team | reds.com: News

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Shin-Soo Choo went 4-for-4 in the Reds’ 7-3 win over the White Sox on Sunday. In addition to raising his Spring Training batting average to .421, Choo has now hit safely in five of the eight games he has played.

Choo, who was acquired by the Reds in an offseason trade, has not taken a long time to acclimate or make a strong impression on manager Dusty Baker.

“Choo can play,” Baker said. “He’s not doing anything that surprises me. That’s why we traded for Choo.”

In addition to his four hits, Choo also stole two bases Sunday. For as strong as the left-handed center fielder is playing, it is also important to remember there are still three weeks until Opening Day.

“Choo’s only going to get better,” Baker said.

via Choo keeps up scorching spring with new team | reds.com: News.

New pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu reflects on his Dodgers debut.

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Hyun-Jin Ryu’s clubhouse demeanor after his first appearance in a Dodgers uniform was much the same as it was before: Even-keeled with a dose of humor.

Ryu threw a scoreless third inning against the Chicago White Sox at Camelback Ranch. He got Blake Tekotte to ground out on a ball hit slowly back to the mound. He struck out Gordon Beckham on a changeup. He allowed a triple to DeWayne Wise that sliced into the right-field corner, then got Jeff Keppinger to fly out to left field to end the inning.

“My goal honestly was not to walk anybody today,” Ryu said. “I guess I succeeded.”

Ryu said his target was 25 pitches, but he was told to go to the bullpen to throw his final nine pitches rather than go out for the fourth inning.

Of his 16 pitches, only one was a mistake. Coincidentally it was the only curveball he threw. It hung in the air, over the plate belt-high, and Wise took advantage. Had Wise rounded third base rather than sliding, he might have looked up to see Nick Punto bobble Andre Ethier‘s relay throw in shallow right field and been able to score.

“The ball slipped a little bit, so it actually went a little higher than I thought,” said Ryu, noting that the ball felt slicker today than what he was used to. “That’s the reason why I looked upset.”

Dodgers special advisor Sandy Koufax offered Ryu some advice on how to grip his curveball earlier in the week. Evidently it’s still a work in progress.

“I guess it didn’t really work today,” he said of the curve. “I’ll continue practicing.”

Catcher Tim Federowicz said the curveball was the exception to the rule. He and Ryu spoke briefly before the game, and Ryu agreed to throw whatever Federowicz called.

“He definitely knows how to make adjustments,” the catcher said. “When he left a fastball up the next one was there (in a better location). That’s how you know a guy knows how to pitch.”

In their pregame talk, Federowicz said the language barrier wasn’t an issue. He and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt have tried to emphasize short phrases that will help Ryu in the middle of a game.

“Slow your tempo, get the ball down, stay back — things that are easy to learn,” Federowicz said.

via Hyun-Jin Ryu reflects on his Dodgers debut. | Inside the Dodgers.

UFC on Fuel 8 Preview: Dong Hyun Kim vs. Siyar Bahadurzada Head-to-Toe Breakdown

Dong Hyun Kim bounced back from his disappointing loss to Demian Maia due to injury by dominating Paulo Thiago in his most recent outing. 

Likewise, Siyar Bahadurzada defeated Thiago his last time inside the Octagon, putting the Brazilian away with a first-round knockout.

Kim and Bahadurzada are two of the most talented welterweights on the fringe of becoming contenders in the 170-pound division, so either fighter could earn a big step up in competition with a win over the other when they meet on the UFC on Fuel TV 8 main card.

Let’s dig into each area of the fight game to see whether Kim or Bahadurzada is more likely to come away with the victory.

via UFC on Fuel 8 Preview: Dong Hyun Kim vs. Siyar Bahadurzada Head-to-Toe Breakdown | Bleacher Report.

New L.A. Dodgers pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin could be lost in translation

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ newest pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin is poised to make his Major League debut this season. But English rather than opposition batters such as Albert Pujols may limit the player’s success.

On Tuesday, there was good news for Ryu as Major League Baseball decided to allow managers and coaches to bring interpreters to the mound when speaking to foreign-born pitchers who have difficulty understanding English, according to ESPN.

This is a relief for the 25-year-old, who said his English “is very poor.” Having an interpreter is a temporary solution but not the ultimate one because it will hurt his focus in a position where concentration is crucial. Besides, his communication with teammates on and off the pitch will have an impact on his confidence and team chemistry. The upside is that he seems to recognize the weight of the issue.

“I have seen many foreign players having language problems here. I’m so concerned that I will be in their shoes in the U.S.,” Ryu said at a press conference at Daejeon Hanbat Baseball Stadium on Jan. 5.

Among a plethora of funny episodes about communication issues, one is that of former minor league Buffalo Bisons pitcher Choi Hyang-nam.

After throwing with all his might in a game against the Norfolk Tides on April 14, 2006, Choi felt he needed to step off the mound in the third inning. However, when a pitching coach asked him if he could continue, the newcomer said, “No power,” which was taken as “No problem.” After giving up three hits and two runs, he was finally allowed to step down.

Such a situation is unlikely to occur with Ryu with the aid of an interpreter beside him but the anecdote shows how communication issues can become serious.

Dodgers’ co-owner Magic Johnson jokingly said, “Just tell him to throw strikes and he’ll communicate properly,” when Ryu said he was worried about his English ability at a media conference on Jan. 7.

Former Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Kim Byung-hyun has told Ryu that English isn’t important as long as he pitches well. Maybe, Cardiff City midfielder Kim Bo-kyung can give better advice to the promising pitcher as he embarks on a new career on the world’s biggest baseball stage.

via Ryu Hyun-jin could be lost in translation.

Deflated Shinji Kagawa striving to pump up Manchester United career after overcoming injury frustrations

Getting through a frustrating spell in your first season with Manchester United is one thing, but Shinji Kagawa is striving to come out the other end and play the best football of his career.

The 23-year-old playmaker began life at Old Trafford with a string of promising performances, but just three months into his career he suffered a series on injury setbacks.

And after managing to force his way back into the first-team, the Japan midfielder is raring to make up for a poor start – if only to make up for his own self disappointment.

“I’m not satisfied so far, but then I am always very critical of my own performances,” he told manutd.com “Even worse, though, I got injured. I had to go through the frustrations that come with getting injured in my first season with the team.

“Now I’m just doing my best to catch up on what I have missed. There’s a lot of pressure when you play for this club, but all I can do at the moment is keep working hard every day to bring out the best in me.

“I’m confident my hard work will pay off.”

Kagawa joined from German champions Borussia Dortmund on a four-year deal and is regularly deployed by Sir Alex Ferguson in a strikers’ support role.

After netting 17 goals in one of Europe’s best leagues last year, Kagawa has gone a long way in replacing former Reds ace Park Ji-Sung as East Asia’s football icon.

And Kagawa admitted that his move to England was benefitted by advice given to him for the South Korean midfielder.

“For me, personally, the fact that an Asian player, Ji-Sung Park, played for the club had a big impact on me. I used to watch United matches on TV when I was little,” he added.

via Deflated Shinji Kagawa striving to pump up Manchester United career after overcoming injury frustrations | Mancunian Matters.

‘Gangnam’ star Psy to star in Super Bowl ad

Even the Super Bowl is going Gangnam Style.

Psy, the South Korean global phenomenon who set social-media popularity records with his Gangnam Style YouTube music and dancing video, will star in a Super Bowl commercial for Wonderful Pistachios.

The flashy commercial, filmed Tuesday in North Hollywood, is the brand’s first Super Bowl ad and will be Psy’s first ad aired in the U.S.

“The Super Bowl is way too big for me,” jokes Psy (real name Jai-Sang Park). “I never dreamed of being a singer in America, so I of course never dreamed of being in a Super Bowl ad.”

Psy’s catchy, offbeat video poking fun at the upper-class lifestyle in South Korea has notched 1.1 billion YouTube views.

In the ad, Psy wears a pistachio- green suit and will display a special way to crack open pistachios.

Increasingly, advertisers in the Super Bowl, a pop culture event with gobs of social-media buzz, are latching onto pop culture figures guaranteed to garner even more social-media chatter.

Beyonce is the Big Game’s halftime singer. Supermodels including Kate Upton and Bar Refaeli are starring in other spots. And Psy has now been snatched up by a Super Bowl ad rookie eager for attention….

via ‘Gangnam’ star Psy to star in Super Bowl ad.

Gymnast Son Yeon-jae Voted Korean Athlete of the Year

Top gymnast Son Yeon-jae was named Sports Star of the Year for the first time by Gallup Korea on Friday based on a survey on 1,700 people aged 13 and upwards. Son received 37.2 percent of the votes in the poll, which Gallup has conducted every year since 2005. Respondents were allowed to vote for up to two people.

Son became the first Korean rhythmic gymnast to advance to an Olympic final in the individual all-around in London this year. She finished fifth in a discipline traditionally dominated by Russian and East European athletes. Viewer ratings went off the charts in Korea when she was scheduled to compete during the Summer Games and messages of support flooded online forums.

The stars of the 2012 London Olympics grabbed most of the top spots. Swimmer Park Tae-hwan, who won two silver medals, was the runner-up with 29.1 percent of the votes. He experienced heartache then elation when he was disqualified then reinstated in the 400-m freestyle, and added to his medal haul by also finishing second in the shorter 200-m race.

Yang Hak-seon, who won Korea its first-ever gold medal in gymnastics by dominating the men’s vault, came in fifth with 16.3 percent, and Ki Sung-yueng, who played a crucial role in securing the men’s football team’s bronze medal, finished sixth with 6.1 percent. Ki on Friday was also named Player of the Year by the Korea Football Association for the second straight year.

However, despite a banner year for baseball which has seen attendance pass the record 7-million mark this year, top players in the Korean Baseball Organization got fewer votes than expected.

Ryu Hyun-jin, who left the Hanwha Eagles at the end of the season and signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in Major League Baseball, finished eighth with 4.3 percent of the votes. Choo Shin-soo, who the Cleveland Indians recently traded to the Cincinnati Reds, was seventh (5.1 percent); Park Chan-ho, who recently announced his retirement, came ninth (3.8 percent); and Lee Dae-ho, who plays for the Orix Buffaloes in Japan, finished 10th (3.8 percent). Since the survey began in 2005, it is the first time that no baseball player has made it to the top five.

Park Ji-sung, who plays for Queens Park Rangers in the English Premier League, dropped from first place to third this year with 23.7 percent. He was named captain after he transferred from Manchester United in the off-season, but has failed to shine with his new club and has been sidelined for several weeks now due to a knee injury.

Figure skater Kim Yu-na, who recently made a strong comeback to the world of competitive skating after 20 months of absence by winning the event in Dortmund, Germany, came fourth with 23 percent of the votes.

via The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition): Daily News from Korea – Gymnast Son Yeon-jae Voted Athlete of the Year.

Ryu Hyun-jin Meets Fans at Koreatown in Los Angeles

Pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin had a chance to meet his fans at Koreatown in Los Angeles on Wednesday, one day after he was officially presented as a Dodger.

Over 300 fans, including local residents, gathered in front of Radio Korea, a Korean radio station in the mid-Wilshire district of the city, to see the star.

“I hope I can play in Los Angeles, known for its huge population of Korean Americans, for a long time,” said Ryu, who is due to arrive back in Incheon International Airport on Thursday evening.

The Dodgers decided to hold another press conference for Ryu in Korea. His former team, Hanwha Eagles, plan to hold a sending-off party with fans at Daejeon Hanbat Baseball Stadium.

Ryu will return to the U.S. in January to prepare for life in the Majors.

via The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition): Daily News from Korea – Ryu Hyun-jin Meets Fans at Koreatown in Los Angeles.