, whose opinion on kimchi and bibimbap remains unclear. (Paul Sancya/AP)
Texas outfielder Shin-Soo Choo is a massive star in his native South Korea, having taken his country to a silver-medal finish in the 2009 World Baseball Classic and a gold medal in the 2010 Asian Games, as well as an MVP in the 2000 World Junior Baseball Championship. But in the United States, he's not exactly a marquee or recognized name.
Apparently, however, Choo is hoping to change that through some good old-fashioned media exposure. Or at least, that would seem to be the rationale behind his appearance in an utterly strange endorsement for the popular Korean dish bulgogi that appeared buried deep in the international section of Wednesday's print edition of The New York Times. That, or Choo is just a really massive fan of beef.
The quarter-page ad, which appeared on page A8 of the Times and was apparently run by "ForTheNextGeneration.com," reads:
Hi, I'm Choo Shin-soo. I'm an outfielder for the Texas Rangers. Spring's here and I'm ready to play! And do you know what got me through training? Bulgogi. Try some at your favorite Korean restaurant. It's delicious!
For those wondering, bulgogi is a dish comprised of grilled, marinated meat, usually beef but occasionally chicken or pork. Whether your average major leaguer would benefit from a rigorous offseason training program of eating bulgogi isn't clear, though we here at The Strike Zone can vouch for its deliciousness.
What's more confusing than Choo appearing in a print ad for a traditional Korean dish is the website behind it. ForTheNextGeneration.com is comprised of nothing more than a handful of boxes containing links to some news stories about Korea, as well as links for the Korean alphabet, food and K-Pop, and links to the 2011 F1 Korean Grand Prix and the candidacy page for Pyeongchang, which will host the Winter Olympics in 2018. An email to the site's webmaster, as well as the domain's registrar, Seunghan Yi, went unanswered.
If anyone out there knows any more about Choo's bulgogi ad, or has some recommendations for a good kalbi place in New York, feel free to drop us a line.