Title: ERIC THAMES WENT FROM QUAD-A SLUGGER TO KOREAN LEAGUE STAR. WHAT’S NEXT?
Date: April 12, 2016
Original Source: Vice
Synopsis: I caught up with Eric Thames, former Blue Jays prospect and current king of the KBO league, to talk baseball, life in Korea, bad dating beats, and more.
When Eric Thames stepped to the plate at Masan Baseball Stadium in Changwon, South Korea, last Friday, the 11,000 strong in attendance were expecting something great. A painfully drawn-out eight-week spring training had finally come to a close, and the league’s reigning Most Valuable Player was back in the building, ready to get to work leading the NC Dinos back to the playoffs again in 2016.
Because baseball is cruel, Thames disappointed those expectant fans. He made them wait until his second at-bat to deposit a 3-2 offering from Yang Hyeon-Jong over the fence for a home run. He’d record another hit later in the game, as his Dinos topped the KIA Tigers 5-4 for an opening day victory.
This is just how it is for Thames as he enters his third season in the Korean KBO. He is fresh off of winning a gold glove at first base, becoming the league’s third foreign-born MVP, and making himself the inaugural member of the famously hitter-friendly league’s 40-40 club. There’s really no end to the list of random records and strange accomplishments he managed last year – he became the first player to hit for the cycle twice in a single season, for example – when Thames hit .381 with 47 home runs, 140 runs batted in, 103 walks, 42 doubles, and 40 stolen bases. Whatever there is that can be done with a bat, Eric Thames did it in Korea last season, and he’ll aim to do even more in this one.
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