Toronto: A city where I met a seagull, a symbol for one of famous Korean baseball teams. * Please Welcome! Former Jays’ pitcher, RHP Scott Copeland signed with LG Twins.
North York, Ontario ─ Usually, I lived in Metro Vancouver, but that day, June 10th, 2015, I had an appointment for a business reception in North York, Ontario. Thus, I went to Toronto. Before I got on board of the airplane, I had decided to watch the ball game at Rogers Centre. You know, the weather in Toronto is very unstable during early summer owing to Lake Ontario. Moreover, whilst I was in there, Toronto was raining cats and dogs. I walked down from Hostelling International to Rogers Centre with my umbrella, flipping over repeatedly.
June 10th, 2015. Rogers Centre
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Miami Marlins
Sungyoung Ryu, copyright ⓒ 2016 all rights reserved
I was afraid of the game I made a reservation cancelled, so kept checking updates. Although it was still enough rain to rain out, I finally realized that the stadium was a dome, which has fully retractable motorized roof when I just arrived in front of the ballpark. By that day, Blue Jays had won 7 games in a streak. Despite bad weather and Wednesday daytime, most of the seats were occupied by home fans.
A RHP was called up from Buffalo Bisons, Triple A minor league team of Blue Jays. Until he promoted, he had a 1.97 ERA (Earned run average = 9 × Earned Runs Allowed / Inning Pitched) and 4W-1L in eight appearances (seven starts). Impressive stats were both his walks and hits allowance (WHIP) was quite lower than average and high ground outs-fly outs ratio (GO/AO) had shown he has a talent to induce a grounder. Right after both American and Canadian national anthems were sung, the game had started.
Meanwhile, Miami Marlins were in trouble for a while. Marlins’ GM Dan Jennings substituted himself for Mike Redmond as Marlins’ interim manager on May 17, 2015. It was an awkward move of Marlins, because Dan had never coached any professional baseball team during his entire career.
Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson, left, celebrates with teammate Justin Smoak @ sportsnet.ca
Leadoff of Marlins was Dee Gordon, NL stolen base leader. The spot starter struck Gordon out. He wrapped up 1-2-3 by only 11 pitches in the top of the 1st. Luckily Jays scored 2 runs in the bottom of 2nd. Miami’s Tom Koehler started as well, but in the 2nd inning, Cleanup hitter Edwin Encarnación hit a single, then Justin Smoak hit double. Up next was Russell Martin, Canadian professional baseball catcher for the Toronto Blue Jays. It was a tipping point of the game. Martin hits Koehler’s 1st pitch. A ground ball with eyes, was able to make a catch.
However, M. Prado suddenly made a huge mistake. Prado might think Encarnación can’t reach to the home, so he decided to throw the ball to catcher, not to 1st baseman. Wrong decision, his ball was out of reach for Marlins catcher. All runners can touch bases! Furthermore, Martin can get to 2nd base without baseball metaphors for a joke. A single error, but it changed the game.
Sungyoung Ryu, copyright ⓒ 2016 all rights reserved
In the bottom of 4th, Toronto offence again, Smoak hit the 1st ball right after Encarnación hit a double from Koehler. 2-Run homer! Before cooling down the fever of 2-Run homer, Martin hit another home run. Back-to-back home runs, 5-0. But it was just the beginning of Jays’ game.
In the 7th inning, Shortstop José Reyes stepped into batter’s box. Koehler had still pitched yet. Reyes waited for his chance, and grabbed it. His hit headed to right field. Right fielder chased it, he collided with the fence but ball had gone over the fence.
Manager Jennings visit to the mound with a rosin filled ball, and he changed Koehler to reliever Sam Dyson. Josh Donaldson, the American League Most Valuable Player for the 2015 MLB season, stood next to the batter’s box and waved his arms. He was already struck out 2 times at the day, but swings were very sharp. Dyson tried to avoid Donaldson ─ first pitch was little bit touched the ground, but Josh hadn’t missed the chance.
Like 3 others, followed a parabolic path, it was out of outfield range. Smoak – Martin and Reyes – Donaldson: Have you seen any ball game 4 batters hit homer and 2 times back-to-back home run?
The guy I described ⓒ sportsnet.ca
Due to run creation and fielding assist by Jays lineup, the spot starter allowed only 6 hits and a run, recorded 6 strikeouts without walks until the 7th. Box score was 1 – 7, Jays won. As a result of the game, Blue Jays extended their winning streak to 8 games. Since then, they tied their longest recorded winning streaks; 11 games (from June 2nd to 14th, 2015), one another, August 2nd to 13th, once again in the same year.
April 14th, 2016. Jamsil Stadium
I know that editor might be gonna ask me a question: “Is this really related to relationship between Korea and Canada?” The pitcher was Scott Copeland. I read an article that he’ll debut in Korea Baseball Organization. It was just a coincidence. The baseball player, who pitched during my 1st visiting of Rogers Centre, is going to pitch at Jamsil Baseball Stadium. Who knew this would happen?
The Blue Jays have sold RHP Scott Copeland to the LG Twins, A baseball team of Seoul. The guy, Copeland made his big league debut with Toronto last season. Copeland, 28, made his major league debut last season, pitching to a 6.46 ERA with 3.52 K/9 and 1.17 BB/9 over five appearances. He primarily relied on his sinker (91mph), also mixing in a slider (80mph), change (85mph) and curve (74mph). * Source:Brooksbaseball
He also rarely threw a fourseam fastball (92mph) and cutter (88mph). He’s a command and control righty whose stuff works best in a Quad-A role. He tossed six scoreless frames in training camp early this year, but Jays’ roster is already full.
“I had never visited Asia before, but Korea’s first impression is quite nice.
I’ve pitched many cities and towns, but they can’t compare to Seoul.
Seoul is one of biggest cities I have been.”
LG Twins buyout him from Jays. Scott Copeland signed a contract to for a one-year, $750,000 contract OFFICIALLY on April 9th, 2016. Canadian national baseball team pitcher Andrew Albers, formerly played for the Hanwha Eagles, gave him some advices about Korean baseball. If he can show everything he got, I can assure you all Twinkies that he would be a valuable asset to LG Twins for this year as much as Luis Jimenez does. His sinker is a real worm hunter that generates an extreme number of groundballs compared to other pitchers’ sinkers.
Kyu-min Woo, his new colleague and submarine ace mentioned Scott’s bullpen showcase: I’m glad to see him. Copeland has a pinpoint control. His two-seam fastball was very impressive. I expected he can perform as well although he still needs to prove himself at the games.
“Pitching mechanics are stable, both movement and break are notable,” Manager Yang also said.
Scott signs autographs for kids on Apr 16 ⓒ Daniel Kim (Spotv)
He played against Goyang (NC) Dinos in the minor league on April 16th. A run, 4 hits and 3 walks allowed in 5 innings. Scott Copeland will be called up this week. Truth is; all that matters is whether infielder can catch his grounders.
* Source: Fangraphs
Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Canada
Nostalgia in front of CN Towre, I mean CN Tower.
Back to Rogers Centre. When the game was ended, sky was clear, pretended to be never rainy before. Crowds left the stadium, but I saw a gentle who wore a jersey of Lotte Giants outside of building. The jersey was stitched 가르시아 (García; Karim García) 96. I was ambrassed I could see my hometown’s uniform because it is very rare in Canada.
“Mr., how did you get it? Are you a fan of Lotte Giants?” I asked him.
“I don’t understand what you mean.” Gentle replied. He told me how he got that jersey.
“I am not a bluebird guy, but I belong to Bronx Yanks. I liked García, not his team. But one of my nephews, who worked as a teacher in Korea, she bought me this uniform.”
Karim García had played for New York Yankees, but it was almost a decade ago. Indeed, he was called as The Latino Bambino. He is likely best remembered for an incident in the 2003 ALCS at Fenway Park against the Yanks old rivalry, Red Sox. García was plunked with a Pedro Martínez pitch thrown behind his head. It was ranked one of Top 10 MLB bench clearing brawls in 20th century.
“I had heard that Karim is still playing at somewhere in Korea.”
“Well, it was by 2011. He’s now in Mexico.” “Is he? I didn’t know about it.”
He was a beloved foreign outfielder in Korea, quite popular. Performed at Lotte Giants from 2008 to 2010, Hanwha Eagles in 2011. I and he shared a lot of things about García and take this great selfie.