The Changeup: A Ray of Light, Tampa Inches out NY, Fri 10/9
Updated: Oct 12
TB beats NYY 2-1. TB Advances to the ALCS.
This was, without a doubt, the best of all the Division Series games.
To put this matchup in perspective, the Rays are dirt poor compared to the Yankees. The Rays’ 2019 opening day payroll was $69 million vs $206 million for the Yankees. Despite that, the Rays regularly do very well in the regular season against this Division rival, and just inched them out in this series.
Pitching. The pitching was solid for both teams: NYY Gerrit Cole v TB Tyler Glasnow. Glasnow only lasted 2 ⅓, and the remaining 3 Tampa Bay relievers each took 2 innings a piece to close it out. It’s not your traditional pitching strategy, but it got the job done. Teamwork makes the dream work.
Defense. First baseman Choi held the TB infield together, making some great digs to save several bad throws to first. The Yankees infield made some diving stops, but couldn’t turn those plays in time.
Offense. Bottom 5: Meadows hit a solo homer to right to tie it up 1-1. Bottom 8: Brosseau hit a solo homer to left center on a 3-2 count. He won the 10-pitch battle of attrition against Aroldis Chapman.
Other Daily Musings
The 26 Yankees: Who Are They? I thought it was just the Yankees home jerseys that did not have their names on the back, but I realized their away gray jerseys also don’t have it. My personal opinion is that everyone deserves to wear their surname, or any other name for that matter (like Ichiro) on their jersey. I think they deserve to get recognized on the field for the work they do. I am curious to know what the players themselves think about this.
Who is Rays First Baseman Ji-Man Choi? The first two plays of today’s game were both amazing digs by Rays 1B Ji-Man Choi (최지만). On the second play, he laid out his entire body to save an awful throw from SS Adames while somehow keeping his toe on the bag. Choi may look like a teddy bear, but make no mistake, he is an agile Tiger Inside, SuperM style.
Choi hails from Incheon, South Korea, a city much better known for producing Kpop stars than baseball players. He also rocks his lightly dyed reddish brown hair. It’s not as vibrant as your typical Kpop star’s bleach blonde mullet, but it’s just enough to give him some flair. I don’t know the Yankees’ stance on dyed hair, but I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t fly if he played for them.
In Spring 2020, Choi returned to Korea to do his baseball training back home instead. His brother owns a baseball facility in Incheon, so it made sense for him to go back home. A few months prior, the Rays hired an interpreter for Choi named Steve Nam. Last I read, Nam wasn’t sure whether to stay in Tampa or return to Korea during the preseason. I wonder if he’s also qualified to translate for Kpop stars, but that could be a fun part-time job for him.
Speaking of Kpop, BTS’ song Mic Drop is being used by the MLB for its Postseason commercials. I wonder if Choi was at all involved in making that partnership happen. Personally, I’d love to see more Kpop incorporated into baseball.
If you're looking for a solid 1 hour Kpop playlist to get hyped up, I made this one on Spotify called Kpop Bangers for Beginners.
About the Author
Bonnie Young runs the Amplified blog. She shares her insights on market trends from US to Asia and interviews founders that are shaking up the tech scene. She has been passionate about baseball since the age of 13 and regularly attended A's games before the pandemic. Bonnie is currently looking for a growth equity or VC role in the Bay Area. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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