Did anyone out there notice that Byung-Hyun Kim signed the other day to play for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, in Japan?
Kind of interesting, as Kim, who first appeared in the majors as a 20-year old in 1999, the year he was signed, put together a 54-60, 4.42 career, and he was pretty good as a reliever. He was also the closer for the Diamondbacks in the 2001 World Series, blowing two ninth-inning leads before Arizona eventually beat the Yankees in Game 7.
Kim was born in Kwangju, South Korea, in 1979, turning 32 just a little over a week ago. And, when signed, he played in Arizona till 2003, and then he went to Boston, Colorado, Florida, then back to Arizona, and back to Florida, and finally became Giants property. Though Kim has not pitched in the majors since 2007, the Giants had the rights to the pitcher.
Now Kim, who as a pro has only pitched in the United States, gets to go to Japan. It is kind of cool, I think, for moves like this to push baseball more and more to really being a world sport. And that is a good thing.
As for Kim, I do wonder what it would be like. If you ever read Warren Cromartie's great memoir, Ya Gotta Have Wa, on the American experience of playing in the Land of the Rising Sun, maybe that will help.
Still, the world gets smaller. And that is a good thing.