Tomorrow I’ll be heading over to minor league camp at Pirate City, rather than heading up to Dunedin to see the Pirates on the road. There isn’t much happening at minor league camp yet, with the early players reporting yesterday, and not much happening other than workouts. But this should give me an opportunity to talk with some of the guys there, and get an early look at players heading into the 2015 season.
I had a minor league themed article tonight, but need to follow-up on something tomorrow before I can complete it. I was also sent an amazing cartoon out of Korea about Jung-ho Kang and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
— Sung Min Kim (@sung_minkim) March 3, 2015
If the link doesn’t work for you, here is the cartoon.
If you’re wondering what it says, one of my Twitter followers (@charlestreykang) provided a translation.
UPDATE: Here is another translation from Sung-Min Kim. This one gives a lot of background on Kang, and on the artist of the cartoon. If you’re not already following Kim on Twitter, you should be.
— Sung Min Kim (@sung_minkim) March 3, 2015
This cartoon was drawn by a Korean author/cartoonist Hoon Choi, who has been drawing baseball-related cartoons since the early-2000’s. In mid-2000’s, he ran a cartoon series about Major League Baseball, which became hugely popular among sports fans in Korea and for the past several years, he’s been drawing mostly about the Korean Baseball Organization… and occasionally something else, like this one about the Pittsburgh Pirates. Enjoy
1.Jung Ho Kang went to the PITTSBURGH PIRATES. What kind of team is it?
Narration: For the past 20 year-ish, there was a team in NL Central that were perennial losers …and that team is the Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pirate: *groaning carrying the wood*
The Cardinal: It’s taking 20 years. What kind of great architecture are you building?
- Narration: After rebuilding like crazy, the Pirates started to see the light of their effort starting the 2013 season.
The Pirate: Whoa! Jackpot! Jackpot! Jackpot! I can’t believe I got so many at once!
Narration: The 2014 Pirates didn’t have an edge that stood out from the team but the team didn’t have a weakness either — it was a well-balanced squad.
The Pirate: Fighting is all about balance!
The Brave: *shrieks*
Narration: Because it’s a small-market team, the team relies on younger franchise players rather than league-renowned star players
McCutchen: Okay, let’s go out and pirate some wins!
Narration: Especially, in the infield, where Kang will partake, it’s full of young and talented players.
Kang: I don’t see anywhere to go in…
(NOTE: Hoon Choi uses a public bath space as a metaphor for it. For those that don’t know, public bath is a thing in Korea. Read more about it here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/05/world/asia/05korea.html?pagewanted=all)
2014 stats of Pedro Alvarez, Neil Walker, Jody Mercer and Josh Harrison
(Game, Batting Average, Home Run, RBI) ←- in that order
Narration: For Kang to earn a starting spot, he must wedge into the Pirates infield, start getting some playing time and prove himself.
Kang: Okay, I’m going in! Let me have some space
Narration: At first, the default infielders will get more playing times but it doesn’t quite seem like a 100% established/stable lineup so it’s not out of the realms that Kang could get a space…
Letters above the players: Who’ll endure the longest…
10. Narration: Regardless of how his competitors perform, if Jung Ho Kang consistently plays well, there are good odds that he might inherit Neil Walker’s (who’ll be eligible for arbitration) spot next year.
Kang: I’ll protect/secure the peace in Pittsburgh as well.
(NOTE: one of Kang’s nickname among Korean fans was “The King of Peace” because there wasn’t much argument that he was clearly the best shortstop in the league, therefore resulting in “peace”… does that make sense?)
Honestly, this cartoon is kind of perfect. It captures the essence of Cardinals fans — acting like they care and acting like they’re kind, but really it just comes across as being a douche. You’ve got Andrew McCutchen saying “Let’s go earn some points,” which I’m pretty sure is a rough translation of “Let’s go score some runs,” but honestly I think “earn some points” is better. It’s almost like the definition of an advanced metric, where you’d say “Josh Harrison had a breakout year in 2014, as seen by the fact that he earned a lot of points.”
You’ve also got the hot tub metaphor for Kang trying to squeeze into the infield. At the same time, how do we know that this isn’t how Corey Hart hurt his foot in a hot tub? The cartoon also ends with a mention that Kang could take over for Walker eventually, with Kang saying he will maintain the peace in Pittsburgh. That’s impossible, since Pittsburgh will probably riot when Walker leaves, even if Kang is looking like an amazing replacement.
Thanks to Sung-Min Kim for passing the cartoon along, and thanks to Chris Kang for providing a translation.
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