September 8th, 2010
11:30 AM ET

Baseball player's options: Win gold or go serve

Shin-Soo Choo and the South Korean team will be going for gold at the Asian Games.

For Cleveland Indians player Shin-Soo Choo it is literally win big or go home - and serve.

Choo, like any male from South Korea, has an obligation to serve in his country's military for two years by the end of the year they turn 30. And at 28, Choo's running out of time.

But he may be able to stave off his service. Choo was just named to his country's final 24-man roster for November's Asian games.

MLB.com reports that if Choo's team captures the gold medal in the Games, he would likely get an exception from the South Korean military. He missed the chance to earn the top medal for his country at the Olympics because Major League Baseball doesn't allow its players to compete.

But this go-around, the timing is right.

And it could mean good things for the South Korean's baseball career, which would be able to continue instead of returning home to train for the military.

"My first thing is that I'm playing for my country as best as I can," Choo told MLB.com. "If we play good, maybe we'll win. ... That's my first goal. Then the next thing would be my military obligation. But it's not the first thing I'm trying for. I'm playing for Korea."

The Indians' organization has fully endorsed Choo's decision, MLB.com reported.

"As always, with international competition, we leave the decision up to the player," assistant general manager Chris Antonetti told MLB.com. "In Choo's case, he certainly wants to represent his country. Provided there's not an injury or a workload concern, we are always in support of international competition."

And it's likely his Cleveland teammates will be rooting him on - if nothing else to ensure he can stay around and help the team in the next few years.

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Filed under: Baseball • Sports
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Dwight Huth

    Wait a minute this isn't South Korea this is America. He is not obligated to serve in the South Korean military. The media spectacle sounds like just like another baseball player that decided to serve his country but this time there will not be any combat involved.

    September 8, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Matt

    He has to serve if he wants to go back to South Korea again. Just because he's in the US doesn't mean that his obligations as a ROK citizen are gone.

    September 8, 2010 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. dc

    The funniest part of the article is him playing in Cleveland for years to come. Dolan will ship him out to another team by next years trade deadline at the latest.

    September 8, 2010 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Howard

    It seems like most of you are studying hard for your GED. Can you focus on your remedial studies and let grow ups chat.

    September 8, 2010 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. someoneelse

    They force geniuses who completely waste their talents away for two years (though isn't it one and a half years now) yet some moron who can pick up a club and hit something coming at him is allowed off. DIsgusting.

    September 8, 2010 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Rob

    Its funny all the negative comments about Cleveland because I am sure 90% of you have never been there. It has greatly changed since the mid 80's and it a hidden treasure because of all the misconceptions about the city. You can hate all you want, just keeps all the close minded people away.

    September 8, 2010 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
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