Ex-Dodgers to Appear in Real Live Baseball Games...in South Korea
What's the old saying, "old Dodgers never die, they just get traded away”? Something like that. The point is, ex-Dodgers pop up from time to time, and when they do - especially with no actual Major League Baseball action to report on - we like to bring the information to your attention.
SI's Jake Reiner wrote recently about former Los Angeles property and resident flash-in-the-pan Jerry Sands, who is continuing his career in Japan as we speak. Graham Womack has two pieces on Maury Wills, including an interview just published this morning. Last week I posted a video of baseball artist Graig Kreindler's beautiful work, which includes multiple pieces featuring Sandy Koufax and Jackie Robinson, along with individual portraits of Roy Campanella, Don Drysdale, Gil Hodges and Duke Snider, all of which is great, because just how many times can you watch Steve Yeager and Mickey Hatcher talk about the 1988 World Series on SportsNet LA without slipping into a coma?
For one alternative, real live baseball games are being played in Taiwan as speak, with cardboard cutouts of fans in the seats. I'd have gone with digital fans, but whatareyagonnado? And with South Korea getting an early start on COVID-19-inspired testing and social distancing, the Korean Baseball Organization is scheduled to being its regular season May 5.
The KBO sports 34 former-major and minor league players on the league's 10 team rosters. Names you might recognize include Dan Straily, Odrisamer Despaigne, Mel Rojas, Jr., Ben Lively and Raul Alcantara.
One player you may remember from his Dodgers days - albeit not very many of them - is Jamie Romak, now a member of the SK Wyverns. Romak, 33, appeared in 27 games for Los Angeles in 2014 and 2015, filling in at first base, third base and the corner outfield positions. His big league career line, all of it in L.A., is .167/.231/.250, with two doubles, three RBIs and 14 strikeouts in 36 at bats.
Romak did have a fine minor league career, however, hitting over 20 home runs four times and compiling 211 lifetime blasts, along with 774 RBIs and a .257/.345/.471 mark.
You're to be forgiven if the name Jose Miguel Fernandez fails to register in your Dodgers memory bank. Fernandez, now 32, a former middle infield standout in Cuba and now a member of the Doosan Bears, was with the L.A. organization from January to November of 2017, hitting a combined .306/.367/.496 with 16 homers and 65 RBIs in 343 at bats for the Tulsa Drillers and Oklahoma City Dodgers.
I'm sorry I don't have more exciting news to report this afternoon, but if the KBO does work out a deal to have its games televised in the United States - and a deal is in the works - I'll be watching. And hoping for Mr. Romak to give me a thrill.
And remember, glove conquers all.
Howard Cole has been writing about baseball on the Internet since Y2K. Follow him on Twitter.