Shin-Soo Choo wasn't matching his normal level of production this season even before he blew more than twice the legal limit and was cuffed for a DUI in Sheffield. But any chance of the Tribe's star right fielder righting the ship was put in doubt after his legal troubles.
According to Anthony Castrovince's recent article, Choo pressed, Choo agonized over what folks back in his homeland of Korea thought about him, Choo read just about every word written about him, and Choo answered the phone every time it rang, be it a reporter, friend, or family member on the other end. He had buried himself so deeply into his mistake that mistakes were all that he was making on the field.
Slowly, he's rebounding. And Castrovince describes how Indians skipper Manny Acta helped Choo to emerge from his self-imposed nightmare.
It wasn't until a sitdown with Tribe manager Manny Acta early this month that Choo realized the err of his ways. Acta is the only Dominican-born manager in the Majors today, so he knows about the pressure of representing not just a team but a country, and the two had a heart-to-heart that Choo took to heart. His first order of business was to change the cell phone number he had carried with him for nearly a decade. His next was to learn to distance himself from any mention of his name online.
When talking about his newfound frame of mind, Choo points to the iPad2 he recently bought.
"I use it only for video games," he says. "No Internet. I'm not worried about things anymore. I learned a lot about life, actually, not just baseball. I used to try to make everybody happy. That's a lot of stress. In this world, you can't make everybody happy."
There's plenty more in what is a great piece on his mindset, including how he's trying to act like a frog. That makes more sense when you read the whole article, which you should do now.