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Five reasons we’re geeking out about Hyun-Jin Ryu’s major-league debut

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(BLS Illustration)

When the Los Angeles Dodgers face the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday, eyes will again be on a Dodgers starting pitcher. This time it's Hyun-Jin Ryu, the South Korean import who is making his major-league debut.

The Dodgers, who spent money like the Real Housewife of Beverly Hills this offseason, paid $25.7 million just for the right to negotiate with Ryu, then signed him to a six-year, $36 million contact.

Ryu, 26, previously won rookie of the year and MVP in the same season for the Hanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization. He had a nice spring with the Dodgers too: 27 strikeouts in 27 innings with a 3.29 ERA. Dodgers fans should be psyched about that. But you know who else should be geeking out? Geeks. Specifically, fans of the "Street Fighter" video game series.

If you're a child of the '90s, there's a good chance you can't read the name "Hyun-Jin Ryu" and not think of Ryu, the fireballing, upper-cutting "Street Fighter" favorite. Here are some things we can't wait to see during the Ryu-takes-America rookie campaign:

1. Fans shouting "Hadouken" after every strikeout

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Would there be a better rallying call in baseball? "Hadouken," for you "Street Fighter" rookies, is what video-game Ryu yells when he throws a fireball.

2. Ken relieving Ryu
Imagine the day that Ryu hurls a gem and hands the ball off to Dodgers relief pitcher Kenley Jansen — ahem, KEN-ley Jansen. Ken, of course, being Ryu's fireballing counterpart in "Street Fighter." It's a shame Ken Griffey Jr. isn't playing anymore, so we could have a true Ryu vs. Ken battle. Closest is Kendrys Morales of the Seattle Mariners.

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3. The Yankees negotiating with Guile and Zangief
Never to be outdone, the New York Yankees will probably announce soon that they're attempting to sign Guile, an ex-Air Forceman who can throw "sonic booms," and Zangief, a giant Russian who can wrestle grizzly bears ... and, we assume, pulverize pitches. Scouts say Blanka is waiting for the 2014 free-agent market.

4. Scott Boras doing his best Sagat impression
Baseball-tossing Ryu is represented by Scott Boras, baseball's big-money boss. Boras sitting back, laughing and counting Ryu money, brings back haunting memories of losing to "Street Fighter" boss, Sagat, who mocked his victims with a hearty laugh.

5. "Street Fighter" night at Dodger Stadium
Dodgers front-office folk, feel free to steal this one: "Street Fighter" night at the park. Come dressed as your favorite character from the game and get half-off a ticket. There are also uncountable chances for T-shirts, merchandise and Hadouken Hot Dogs.

You know, because the Dodgers need to recoup some of the money they've been spending these days.

Baseball season is back. Don't miss anything.
Follow @MikeOz and @bigleaguestew, on Twitter, along with the BLS Facebook page.

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