FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Byung Ho Park is learning a little bit more about American culture every day as he makes the transition to playing in the Majors after an illustrious career in his native Korea. But on Monday night, he was exposed to something totally foreign to him --
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Byung Ho Park is learning a little bit more about American culture every day as he makes the transition to playing in the Majors after an illustrious career in his native Korea. But on Monday night, he was exposed to something totally foreign to him -- American reality television.
Twins right-hander Phil Hughes, who has been live tweeting ABC's "The Bachelor" in recent weeks, invited Park over to his place for a viewing party to watch this week's episode with fellow Twins Brian Dozier and Trevor Plouffe. Hughes joked that Park was mostly confused by what he saw, but he said it was a good bonding experience with his newest teammate.
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"He wasn't quite sure what 'The Bachelor' was, and even after we explained it to him a little bit, he still wasn't really on board with it," Hughes said with a laugh. "But we just thought it would be cool to have him over. I can only imagine how hard the transition is to a different country and not knowing the language well."
Hughes, seeing that Park has mostly stuck to Korean cuisine this spring as he adjusts to living in the United States, also wanted to do something special in the kitchen as well, so he cooked a gourmet meal consisting of creamed corn with jalapenos, his own variation on potato salad, salmon and pork loin.
"The thing that's cool about that is that he's willing to come out and get out of his comfort zone a little bit," Plouffe said. "Phil made some good food, and I think even that is out of his comfort zone, eating some of the food we cook here. And he met our wives, [my son] Teddy and Phil's dog. So I think he's having a good time with it, but I'm not sure he liked 'The Bachelor.'"
Park, a two-time MVP in the Korean Baseball Organization who joined the Twins on a four-year deal worth $12 million this offseason, admitted he didn't really understand the show, but he said he was happy his teammates included him in something away from the ballpark.
"It feels great to be invited by my teammates," Park said through interpreter J.D. Kim. "We don't speak the same language, but they still invited me to try to get to know me better. So I'm really happy I was invited."
Park's English is continuing to improve, as he's able to hold basic conversations, but he still leans on Kim to help him when he can't understand certain words or phrases. Kim was there Monday night in case anything was lost in translation, but Dozier said Park is not only learning the language, but he's starting to become comfortable enough to show his sense of humor and joke around with his teammates.
"It took him a little bit because he was shy, and I can only imagine me going over there to Korea," Dozier said. "But the thing is he can speak some English. He's been awesome. At first, he lightened up when we'd joke with him, but now he's throwing jabs at us. So that's when you know he's starting to get comfortable."
So while Park is getting comfortable with his teammates, he wasn't exactly comfortable with the subject matter. The group couldn't help but laugh when Park kept asking why the contestant was kissing multiple partners and telling two different women he loved them.
"The one thing he did say was he was telling us that in Korea they don't really kiss multiple women, but we told him we don't really do that here, either," Hughes said. "I told him this is like the one exception. It's sort of encouraged. But that was his one take on 'The Bachelor' and it was pretty funny."
Twins manager Paul Molitor was unaware of the viewing party, and he said he was happy to see Park interacting with his teammates, but he couldn't help but laugh when informed of the show they watched together.
"The concept makes me smile," Molitor said. "I can imagine some of the conversation. It's funny they'd invite him over to watch 'The Bachelor' and not the Warriors against the Spurs."
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, **Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter [@RhettBollinger](https://twitter.com/RhettBollinger)** and listen to his podcast