Fernando Rodney to visit South Korean LLWS champs who adopted his save celebration
Mariners reliever Fernando Rodney is taking the long route from his home in the Dominican Republic to next week's Fanfest in Seattle.
He's going through Seoul, South Korea.
"I'm going to Korea because I feel really connected and supported by the Korean fans," Rodney said during a brief stop in Miami. "Since I have arrived in Seattle, they have shown me so much love and I want to return the favor. I can't wait to see the country in person and meet people there. For me, they have shown to be really good people and I love meeting good people."
Rodney leaves for Korea at the end of the week and said he plans to compete in a contest at an ice fishing festival, visit U.S. soldiers on a military base and participate in a youth baseball camp while there. His schedule also includes lunch at the Dominican Republic Embassy, a visit to a school for the blind and a meet-and-greet with the 2014 Little League champions from South Korea.
How popular is Rodney in South Korea?
The Little Leaguers mimicked Rodney's trademark bow and arrow celebration during their 8-4 victory against Illinois in the championship game in Williamsport.
You can see it in motion around the :36 mark:
"I was so happy to see the kids do that because it's fun but also admiration and I appreciate that," Rodney said. "For me, it's a tribute to the people and an area where I'm from."
Mariners Fanfest is scheduled for Jan. 24 and 25. Rodney said he expects to land in Seattle the day before the event begins.
"I can't wait to get started. You add a player like Nelson Cruz to a team with Robinson Cano and Felix Hernandez, and it will make for a good team with good chemistry in the clubhouse," Rodney said. "I think it's something the fans can look forward to and be excited about. I know I will be ready."
But first things first, Rodney said. It's time to visit Korea.
"I think they will see that I'm just a person dedicated to my work," he said. "I listen to my elders and watch out for the children. People love me and I love them back. Korea, Dominican Republic, Seattle. It does not matter where you are from."