Shin-Soo Choo has attracted a lot of attention since his Cincinnati Reds landed in Los Angeles. He and Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu are the only two Korean-born players active in the major leagues, and tomorrow’s game with Ryu starting has been a focal point of the Korean-language media the past two days.
Choo didn’t have a great day in the spotlight Thursday. He was deked twice.
The first deke came in the fourth inning, when Yasiel Puig took a hard turn around first base on a single to center field and lured Choo into throwing wide of first base for a two-base error. A better throw by Choo might have picked Puig off first base, but both managers — Dusty Baker of the Reds and Don Mattingly of the Dodgers — complimented Puig’s aggressiveness.
“If you have speed and don’t take big turns,” Mattingly asked rhetorically, “what’s the point of having speed?”
Choo’s errant throw wound up costing the Reds a run when Puig scored from third base on Adrian Gonzalez‘s RBI groundout. Yet that wasn’t even Choo’s worst mistake Thursday.
With Jay Bruce batting in the eighth inning, Choo tried to steal second base. Bruce lined a single into center field, but Choo didn’t see it. Dodgers second baseman Skip Schumaker noticed this and, along with shortstop Hanley Ramirez, successfully convinced Choo that Andre Ethier (or perhaps Ramirez) had caught Bruce’s line drive.
“I feel like if you cause enough chaos, people start to panic,” Schumaker said. “I think that’s what happened. He slid and didn’t see the ball there.”
Here’s how the play went down:
What was Schumaker yelling at Ramirez? “A lot of stuff you probably can’t write.”
“I had it done to me in the minor leagues,” Schumaker continued. “I’ve been on the other side of it.”
Mattingly said that the trick play is common: “It happens all the time. They just don’t fall for it that much.”