South Korean men are required to put in two-year hitch in the armed forces before age 30, and Cleveland Indians outfielder
, who has kept deferring his mandatory military service, is
. He can give up two of his best (and best-paid) years of baseball, or he can abandon his country and become an American citizen.
South Korea is a nation constantly menaced by a hostile, heavily armed, irrational neighbor. A strong army is necessary for its survival. A South Korean man can’t just selfishly abandon his military commitment in the face of such an existential threat, for the sake of playing baseball.
At least, not for the sake of playing American baseball. South Korean baseball, on the other hand… Well, the
are going on. And if South Korea can win the gold medal, the players will be excused from military service.
Yesterday, in the semifinals, Choo hit a home run, walked three times, and scored three runs as
. Overall in the tournament, he’s hitting .600, with 3 homers and 2 doubles.
So now, to discharge his duty for national security, all Choo has to do is to come through against
Taiwan in the gold-medal game tomorrow. South Korea has already beaten Taiwan once, 6-1. In that game, Choo hit two home runs.