Thursday, June 09, 2011

The Foot Fist Way

The main subject of this post may be a little belated, but i figured better a late post than no post at all.

For those who haven't been aware already, last Sunday June 5th marked the twelfth anniversary of the infamous on-field fight between Chan Ho Park and Tim Belcher where Park unexpectedly attempted to jump kick Belcher in the midsection. Sure it's at best a minor footnote in modern MLB history, and probably even a footnote in modern MLB on-field brawling history (its obscurity was quite apparent when I could only find one mildly racist clip of the fight in a foreign language on some random website); but it will always have a special place in my memories of Chan Ho Park.

The current MLB baseball season is the first since I started following baseball around 1994, coincidentally Park's rookie year, that he isn't in the majors. As the first South Korean player in major league history, for years Chan Ho Park was South Korean baseball and as a fellow Korean and long time fan, I have thoroughly enjoyed rooting for him and watching his funky pioneering seventeen season journey through the big leagues from the good (his successful early years with the Dodgers, 2001 All Star Selection, becoming the winningest Asian pitcher in MLB history) to the bad (his bust Texas Ranger years, giving up 2 grand slams to Fernando Tatis in the same inning, seeing him in that Phillies uniform) and everything in between.

I think the fight falls somewhere in the "in between" category. As supposedly bad-ass as jump kicking someone in a on field fight sounds and the impressive look of the still frames; as the video shows he was sort of sloppy kicking while running away and it really didn't connect too well (it definitely wasn't Liu Kang's bicycle kick). As one would suspect with a fight between two pitchers, the whole affair was brief and mildly lame with Park at best claiming a tie with Belcher. Still, when I first heard about it and saw it, I couldn't deny a slight bit of pride at the whole thing. Sure it reinforced stereotypes about Asians, but I totally dug the fact that it was the lone Korean player that was breaking out the jump kick on Tim Belcher (who looked like a bit like a cracker and allegedly incited Park with racist comments), straight representing on Sports Center.

Tune in next April when the Chan Ho Park nostalgia tour will cover the two year anniversary of his overly frank explanation of his 2010 opening day pitching problems.

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