In South Korea, as in many other nations, military service by men of a certain age is compulsory — and over there, you have to serve between the ages of 20 and 30. A nice-sized window — but that time does go fast when you’re pursing a professional baseball career.
Cleveland Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, 28, was nearing the end of his window and facing the possibility of having to take time off from the majors to serve his nation. But with the South Korean team’s 9-3 win against Taiwan in the final of the Asian Games on Friday, Choo may get a pass.
Players on the South Korean team that won gold at the Beijing Olympics two years ago were given exemptions. But Choo missed the Olympics, having undergone Tommy John surgery in 2007. So this was his last real shot at getting on the exempt list.
The Indians also expect Choo to get a pass “based on our understanding prior to the tournament and past precedent,” general manager Chris Antonetti said.
Surely that news is (cash-register-style) music to the ears of Choo’s agent, Scott Boras.