Major League Pittsburgh first baseman Choi Ji-man (32) graduated from Incheon Dongsan High School and moved to the United States in 2010. He made his major league debut in 2016 after a tough minor league life. He survived seven years in a jungle-like competition. After this season, he also gets the qualification of a Major League FA (free agent), which is difficult.
But his fate gave him the ordeal of an Achilles tendon injury. Choi Ji-man, who was placed on the injured list (IL) in the middle of this month, can only return in early June. Even so, Choi Ji-man did not lose his smile. It is because there are many people who find him in difficult times, just like the English proverb, ‘A friend in difficult times is a true friend’.
Choi Ji-man said in an interview with Star News at the home team’s clubhouse in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on the 26th (Korean time), “I am on the injured list, but I will accompany the team to the away game against Washington starting on the 29th.” He added, “Players like me who are on the 60-day disabled list do not accompany us on the road and rehabilitate at home, but because of a special event.” 메이저놀이터
The ‘special thing’ mentioned by Choi Ji-man is an invitation to an event prepared by his former team, Tampa Bay. Pittsburgh will play three consecutive games against Tampa Bay from the 3rd of next month after moving to Florida after finishing three consecutive games with Washington.
Choi Ji-man, who was traded from Milwaukee to Tampa Bay during the 2018 season, spent four and a half years there and was able to establish himself as a major league player. Plus, he was one of the most popular players in Tampa Bay.
Tampa Bay announced that it would give Choi Ji-man, who is visiting Tampa Bay’s home stadium for the first time after transferring this season, an opportunity to meet old fans. He is said to have screened a dedication video on the electronic board and prepared a time for Choi Ji-man to greet the fans for a while before the game. He is giving unconventional courtesy to a player who has left the team. Hearing this, Choi Ji-man willingly decided to accompany him on the expedition even though he was injured.
And that’s not all. According to Choi Ji-man, when he was put on the injured list, many former Tampa Bay teammates and fans called to say hello. In addition, it was reported that Tampa Bay Manager Kevin Cash (46) directly contacted Pittsburgh Manager Derek Shelton (53) to closely check the extent of Choi Ji-man’s injury. The two coaches are close since they both coached together in Tampa Bay in the past.
Tampa Bay bench coach Matt Quattraro (50), the current Kansas City manager, also called Choi Ji-man and expressed his condolences about his injury and wished for a speedy return. Coach Quattraro is also said to have conveyed the message, “If there is a chance, let’s play for the same team one more time in the near future.”
Choi Ji-man said, “Injury is definitely not something I’m happy with.” I made up my mind.