Dodgers’ Corey Seager is tagged out by Rays first baseman Ji-Man Choi on a groundout in trò chơi 3 of the World Series.Bạn sẽ xem: The house 2Mookie Betts và Corey Seager may be the biggest stars of the postseason, but the darling of October has been Ji-Man Choi, the baby-faced Tampa bay Rays first baseman whose hamstring-defying acrobatics around the bag, effervescent smile & ultra-cool first name have endeared him lớn fans across the country.

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“Ji-Man Choi is the man,” Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow said. “What you see on TV is what you get. There’s a lot of stuff he does that is iconic and funny.”

Some of the stuff Choi does seem khổng lồ push the limits of kinesiology.

Choi is a stout 6 foot 1 and 260 pounds, but he has a Gumby-like ability to lớn twist and contort his body toàn thân to make plays lượt thích he did in trò chơi 3 on Friday night, when he leaped high and down the line for errant throws from infielders and applied tags on Seager in the fourth inning & Betts in the eighth for outs.

But his most astonishing play that night — & one he has made countless times this month and gained the most acclaim for — was when he did the splits while stretching for shortstop Willy Adames’ one-hop throw on Betts’ game-opening grounder.


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Tampa cất cánh Rays first baseman Ji-Man Choi forces out Dodgers’ Mookie Betts out during trò chơi 3 of the World Series.

“Doing the splits is fun, but it’s very painful at the same time,” said Choi, speaking through an interpreter. “A lot of people think I’m a gymnast instead of a baseball player, but that’s a credit to lớn all the hard work I’ve done throughout the offseason & here during practice.”

Choi, 29, is the rare player from South Korea who bypassed the Korean Baseball Organization, signing with the Seattle Mariners at age 19 in 2009.

He did not play well enough in six injury-plagued minor league seasons to lớn warrant a big league promotion & signed with Baltimore as a minor league free agent after the 2015 season. .

But the Orioles did not add Choi khổng lồ their 40-man roster, & 2½ weeks later, the Angels selected Choi, then 25, in the Rule 5 draft. The Angels thought Choi would provide a left-handed bat capable of producing an on-base-plus-slugging percentage in the .750 range, while playing first base, left field và designated hitter.

Choi hit only .170 with a .611 OPS, five homers and 12 RBIs in 54 games in năm 2016 and was at least a partial victim of bad luck with a .173 batting average on balls in play, which turned out khổng lồ be a career low. But his quirky personality và sense of humor began khổng lồ emerge in Anaheim.


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The Rays credited the baseball gods for their victory over the Dodgers in trò chơi 4 of the World Series, but those otherworldly forces deserted them in trò chơi 5.

Choi went hitless in three at-bats with two strikeouts in a three-game series at Milwaukee in early May 2016, during which he claimed he was visited by a ghost in his bed at the supposedly haunted Pfister Hotel. Asked by MLB.com how he slept his first night in Milwaukee, Choi said, “Oh, not good, not good.”

After Choi hit his first big-league homer, against the Texas Rangers in a July 18 game, the Angels gave the rookie the traditional silent treatment when Choi returned to lớn the dugout.


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Tampa cất cánh Rays first baseman Ji-Man Choi has become a fan favorite in Tampa Bay and one of the most popular players in his clubhouse.

Choi signed with the new york Yankees in 2017 but played only six games in the big leagues that season. A 2018 stint with Milwaukee didn’t go much better — Choi hit .233 with two homers & five RBIs in 12 games for the Brewers before being traded khổng lồ Tampa bay that June for utility infielder Brad Miller & cash.

Choi showed encouraging signs in the second half of 2018, batting .269 with an .877 OPS, eight homers & 27 RBIs in 49 games for the Rays.

That winter, Choi started practicing Pilates và put a greater emphasis on strength & conditioning và flexibility. He had a breakout 2019, batting .261 with an .822 OPS, 19 homers và 63 RBIs in 127 games.

“The reason I started focusing on my flexibility is I got injured a lot in the minor leagues,” Choi said. “I think flexibility is the key part in any sports. So I try lớn be more flexible, hoping it will help me sustain full, healthy seasons.”


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After 31 long years, the Dodgers are on the verge of finally putting seemingly countless October failures behind them in exchange for World Series glory.

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Choi hit .230 with a .741 OPS, three homers, 16 RBIs, 36 strikeouts và 20 walks in 42 games in a platoon role this season, và he’s had a solid postseason, batting .263 (10 for 38) with an .864 OPS, two homers, one double and four RBIs entering trò chơi 6 against the Dodgers on Tuesday night.

Choi did not start in Games 4 & 5, but he drew a key pinch-hit walk off reliever Blake Treinen ahead of Brandon Lowe’s three-run homer in the sixth inning of Tampa Bay’s 8-7 game 4 win.

He is expected lớn start against Dodgers right-hander Tony Gonsolin Tuesday night và right-hander Walker Buehler if the series extends to trò chơi 7 Wednesday.

“Ji-Man, give him a lot of credit, he’s been through a lot in his career,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “He’s been in different organizations, was probably being taught multiple things about hitting or defense or whatever. By the time we acquired him, I think he learned that the best version of himself is to be himself.”


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Fans of the Rays’ first baseman Ji-Man Choi hold signs during the sixth inning of trò chơi 4 of the World Series at Globe Life Field.

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“He’s always smiling, always cracking jokes, having a great time, dancing during batting practice,” Rays outfielder Hunter Renfroe said. “I think the fans really love và embrace guys who look like they’re having fun & go all-out during the game. I think he does that with the best of them.”

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