November 19, 2010
Clevelanders can breathe easy this Friday morning.
Though the past year has been rife with speculation that Choo would have to leave Progressive Field in 2011 to serve a mandatory two-year military stint in his homeland, Choo just rendered the whole thing irrelevant by helping South Korea win a gold medal at the Asia Games in Guangzhou, China.
The South Korean government had promised every team member an exemption from military service if it took the title and the free passes were earned with a 9-3 win over Taiwan in Friday's final.
Choo didn't act as a freeloader, either. As MLB.com's Jordan Bastian reports, he hit .571 (8-14) with three homers, eight runs, six walks and 11 RBIs over five games. He drove in two runs during Friday's game.
This is obviously great news for Indians fans, as they'll get to welcome back one of their town's biggest sports stars in 2011. And it's great news for Choo, who won't have his professional career or paychecks delayed any further. (He's eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason.)
Last, but not least, it's probably great news for South Korea. Instead of bringing Choo back home and sticking him into some ceremonial military spot, he'll continue being a great ambassador for his country here in the United States and a great source of pride and inspiration for the countrymen that follow his career with the Indians.