Interpreting More Than Words for a Baseball Star

I’ve found some silver lining, which was getting a chance to reconnect with some of my friends from college and high school, spending time on Zoom calls and whatnot, as well as a bunch of binge-watching and other things I’d never have a chance to do.

I think I’m on a first-name basis with all the Uber Eats drivers here.

What is your relationship with Ryu away from the field?

I tell Ryu we spend too much time together, especially on the road. I got some heat when I was with the Dodgers about my lack of dating game. My excuse always was, “I have to spend time with Ryu.”

I’ve been hanging out at his place. His wife is a really good cook, and she invites me over to eat. Ryu also has a personal trainer he works with, and we go over to his house and watch Korean TV shows — variety shows, singing competitions, “The Voice of Korea.”

How difficult has it been to learn all the intricacies of the game?

Your biggest fear is screwing something up in terms of not relaying the game plan properly. One example I can give is, like, Ryu would say, ‘I want to throw a fastball up,’ and then I’d say that to the catcher. But if you dig deeper, that can mean anywhere from up in the zone or letter high to get a swing and a miss or almost at a shoulder level, as a show pitch. When I started, I didn’t realize how detail-oriented you had to be, even if you’re delivering something as little as that.

I remember an at-bat with Christian Yelich, when he was with the Marlins. [Former Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt] said, ‘Let’s be up and away in the zone, fastball. He might get to it, but he won’t hit it out of the park.’ And I said it to Ryu, but it actually had to be more up than how I made it sound. So Ryu went out and executed, and then Yelich hit it out the other way. They say these things expecting me to know what the underlying meaning is, and sometimes I couldn’t catch that cue. It can mean wins and losses, differences in E.R.A.

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