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Choo fever in Texas spawns Korean Heritage Night

ARLINGTON -- When the Rangers signed left fielder Shin-Soo Choo, Karin Morris, the vice president of community outreach, knew the signing would benefit the team beyond the playing field.

"The first opportunity was obviously that Mr. Choo is a very good baseball player, and he's done exactly what we need him in getting on base and helping the Texas Rangers win," said Morris. "The second opportunity was that we had an opportunity to engage with a very powerful, very diverse, very vibrant Korean community in North Texas and beyond."

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On July 11, the Rangers will host the club's first Korean American Heritage Night at Globe Life Park when the Angels come to town.

Morris joined The Korean Society of Dallas president Jimmy Ann and the Texas Rangers Foundation president Jim Sundberg, among others, to reveal the details Tuesday. A Korean drum dance will be performed, Olympic gold medalist Nan Yool Choo and Texas Taekwondo United will put on a show, and after the game, there will be fireworks, said Ted Kim, the vice president of the Korean Society of Dallas.

"We will also have opening ceremonies with a member of our community throwing out the first pitch," Kim said. "We will have some cultural exchanges and some photo opportunities."

While this is the first Korean American Heritage Night, the Rangers are no stranger to such events. For the past two seasons, the team has hosted Japanese-American Heritage Nights, and for the past 15, there have been Hispanic Heritage Nights. The Rangers have nine different countries represented on the team.

Morris added that the first 3,000 fans in attendance will receive a Choo towel on July 11.

"He's been extremely appreciative of all of the support and the fans that have come out to the games," she said.

Sundberg said that the addition of Choo has only been a positive one.

"We want to thank you for giving us Choo," Sundberg said to the Koreans in the audience, who let out a loud laugh. "When you see a player from a distance in years previous, sometimes you don't fully appreciate a player until you see him on an everyday basis, and he is more than what I thought he would be."

Grace Raynor is an associate reporter for

Texas Rangers, Shin-Soo Choo