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

Mike Oz

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
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.

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.
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