New Yorkers know the few blocks just east of Herald Square, and especially the stretch of 36th between Fifth and Sixth, as “Little Korea.” Over the last couple of weeks, it’s been a deservedly happy place, and all the happier last night after the home country’s 2-1 victory over Japan. That win saved Team USA’s bacon (all we need now is a victory against Mexico to advance) and kept Korea’s record as the only undefeated team in the tournament intact. Coming into the tourney, all the media attention was on the Latin teams and the US. The power from the East was presumed to be Japan. Korea was considered a sleeper. News flash: That sleeper is a wonderful, wakeful giant.
We’ve had the great pleasure of watching several of their games, and we have to say it’s been a real pleasure, and that it’s hard not to root for them. They play wonderful defense, they hit for power, and pitch like devils. First baseman Seung-Yeop Lee now has five dingers with an OPS of 1.353 and a very Matsui-like swing. Better still, for those interested in the poetry of the game, he was one of five Lees in Korea’s lineup yesterday (in addition to 3 Kims and 2 Parks). So much for Van Lingle Mungo. As for the caps with the giant K? We might just have to get one.