SURPRISE, Arizona - Shin-Soo Choo's big league career began when he was 22 as a rookie with the Seattle Mariners. He is 30 now, and should be fairly secure with the seven-year, $130 million contract he signed with the Texas Rangers in the offseason. He should be able to live off that for at least two to three years.
A native of South Korea, Choo is expected to bat leadoff hitter, and be the Rangers' every day left fielder. He was nice enough to answer some uncomfortable questions.
How old were you when you came here from South Korea? 18.
So you are completely adjusted to living in the U.S.? Yes. I like it. I think the culture, I still follow more Korea style. I do at home. Asian people are ... there is more respect for older people. I lived a long time in the United States and I can't throw that away.
Three kids? Yes. Three. They were all born here, the speak English and Korean. We speak Korean at home. They can write in Korean.
Do you want them to know Korean history? We teach them both. My and wife and teach them Korean (history, culture). My oldest son is in the third grade, and already he knows more than I do about U.S. history.
Do you miss living there? I go back once every year and stay a couple of weeks. Stay with my parents. See my friends. I think I am more comfortable staying here because nobody bothers me. Nobody knows me.
Back in Korea you can't do that? No. I can't go anywhere.
What do you South Koreans think of North Koreans? For me, I just learn from school and history, it's pretty sad. We are the same country. We are the same people and we speak the same language. We look the same. It's the same culture. It's a small country, and that it's seperate is pretty sad.
Do you think it will ever change and merge? I saw on TV a couple of weeks ago families (from North and South Korea) met and they were crying and it was really sad. They can't get together, and that is the sad part. If we were together, we would be a much better country.
Can you cook? No. Not at all.
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