Ryu and Park headline Korea Night at Dodger Stadium

May 28, 2014
Park Chan-ho throws the first pitch as Ryu Hyun-jin catches during Korean Night at Dodger Stadium Tuesday. (The Korea Times/Kim Young-jae)

Park Chan-ho throws the first pitch as Ryu Hyun-jin catches during Korea Night at Dodger Stadium Tuesday. (Kim Young-jae, intern/The Korea Times)

By Tae Hong

Ryu and Park at a pre-game press conference at Korean Night. (The Korea Times)

Ryu and Park at a pre-game press conference at Korean Night. (The Korea Times)

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Korea Night attracted thousands of fans under a celebration of Korean culture, stars and a newly unveiled Ryu Hyun-Jin bobblehead.

The annual event showcased a taekwondo demonstration and held a fan signing event by former Dodgers pitcher Park Chan-ho before the game against the Cincinnati Reds. Park also threw the first pitch.

Other stars included Jung Yong-hwa, leader of K-pop band CNBLUE, who sang the Korean national anthem, and R&B vocalist Ali, who sang the American counterpart.

Korean families crowded the stadium as they received Ryu bobbleheads. (The Korea Times)

Korean families crowded the stadium as they received Ryu bobbleheads. (The Korea Times)

Hosted by the Korea Tourism Organization and Asiana Airlines, which gave away 50,000 Ryu bobbleheads, Korea Night brought out fans from all over California.

“This is a chance to see both Park Chan-ho and Ryu Hyun-jin, so I brought my friends and kids out to the stadium,” said Han So-hyun, 39, a fan who received a baseball card autograph from Park.

Ryu, who played a near-perfect game on Monday, said he was happy to do Korea Night with Park this year after a successful event with Texas Rangers’ outfielder Choo Shin-soo last year.

“I couldn’t attend last year due to prior plans, but I was excited when asked to come this year,” Park said. “The status of Korean baseball has risen, and although I’m a retired player I feel responsibility and affection toward it.”

Singer Ali and Park Chan-ho at Korean Night.

Singer Ali and Park Chan-ho at Korean Night. (The Korea Times)

Jung, who sang the Korean national anthem at the game, wrote Ryu’s theme song, “Ryu Can Do It,” earlier this year. The song has been used for Ryu’s pitches in Dodgers games since April.

“I was invited here because of the song. I was shaking even beforehand,” Jung said. “But a lot of Koreans came today, and I was proud knowing that I was singing for Korea Night. I’m happy to feel that people like Ryu Hyun-jin are bringing Korean patriotism here.”

One of the highlights of the night — the new Ryu bobblehead — drew the attention of the star pitcher himself.

“I think the fact that there is a figurine for fans itself is a happy thing,” Ryu said. “I’ll work hard.”

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