I arrived at Dodger Stadium on Monday afternoon for the formal introduction of the newest Dodger with three different ways to pronounce his name… and I left with five.
So to keep things as less confusing as possible for everyone here on ThinkBlueLA.com, I’m going to stick with the way that it was pronounced in the Dodgers official press release. In this order and spelled correctly (I assume) it is Hyun-jin Ryu and pronounced (repeat after me) – He-YUN Jin Ree-YOO… He-YUN Jin Ree-YOO… He-YUN Jin Ree-YOO. Okay, we’ve got that handled. (By the way, even Magic Johnson messed it up once, so don’t feel too bad).
Still being a relative newcomer to this whole press conference thing, I have only been to a few of them, but let me tell you, the Dodger Stadium Club was packed for this one.
After being formally introduced by Earvin Johnson, Ryu fielded several questions and expressed his gratitude for the warm welcome. When asked if he was happy with his six-year/$36 million contract, he related that he hopes that he pitches well enough that the Dodgers will want to give him an even bigger contract next time. (This, of course, put a big smile on Scott Boras’ face).
Ryu said that he hopes to have an ERA that is “two-something” and hopes to eventually eclipse his countryman Chan Ho Park’s 124 victories for a Korean pitcher – lofty goals indeed.
When asked how he planned to approach major league hitters, he related that he would throw whatever his catcher calls for, adding that he plans to rely heavily on his fastball and his change-up. To this, Magic Johnson interjected “Throw strikes!” which, of course, brought the assembled crowd to laughter.
When asked why jersey number 99, Ryu related that this was his number in Korea and it brought him a lot of success. (He apparently had no idea who the last Dodger was to wear that number).
After the press conference, Ryu mingled with the media crowd for several one-on-one interviews and then met with the most important man in the entire Dodgers organization (from a player’s standpoint, that is), Dodgers clubhouse manager Mitch Poole, whose number one job is to see to each player’s individual needs. It was very apparent that these two will get along just fine.
Ryu plans to return home to South Korea on Tuesday afternoon, but not before a short visit to Koreatown in Los Angeles. He will meet with fans and Koreatown community leaders from 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM in front of the Wilshire Park Place/Radio Korea Building located at 3700 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles.
Man, it’s going to be a great season for the Dodgers!
Is it Opening Day yet?