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Dae-Sung Coup

OK, Dae-Sung Koo can have his name back.

In fact, after today [1] it seems overly familiar to address him that way, since he's said he'd like to be known as Mister Koo. So be it. In fact, why stop there? After his ambush of Randy Johnson and the Yankees, he's Sir Koo to me if he likes. Lord Koo. King Koo. Koo Kahn.

Watch faithfully and baseball will show you things you've never seen before fairly regularly, but I haven't ever seen anything like Koo vs. the Bombers. When they brought poor Mientkiewicz in having never faced the Big Unit, I was remarking to Emily what an incredible hate mission that must be. To review things we both know but can still lose track of amid the hurlyburly, hype and hubbub:

* Randy Johnson is an extremely large man — nearly seven feet tall.

* He is standing on a hill that makes him nearly eight feet tall.

* He is throwing a ball from above his head — we're now talking nearly nine feet.

* If you're a left-handed hitter, his release point appears to be behind your head.

* He throws a ball very fast — not as fast as he used to, granted, but still very fast.

* He has been known to hit people with that fast-moving baseball that appears to be launched from behind their heads. He killed a dove that way once. You could look it up [2].

In the All-Star Game, John Kruk took his hacks against the Unit while practically standing in the dugout. Larry Walker turned around and batted right. Hitting a baseball period is tough; hitting Randy Johnson is tougher; hitting Randy Johnson from the left side is among the toughest things to do in the game — tough enough that Minky and Floyd weren't initially asked to attempt it.

Now, consider that Mister Koo's only other major-league at-bat came on Monday, and it really was the kind of thing you and I could do. He stood practically in the on-deck circle and watched three go by for strikes. That pitcher? Todd Coffey, a strapping young man, to be sure, but not Randy Johnson. Heck, he ain't even a lefty.

So for Mister Koo to make a better showing than he did against Todd Coffey seemed vanishingly unlikely. For Dae-Sung Koo to foul one off against the Unit was to have your vanishingly unlikelies compounded. Heck, a slow roller to Robinson Cano (wonderful name; too bad he's a Yankee) would have earned him high praise in his home dugout. For Mister Koo to smash a ball over Bernie's head? Ludicrous, ridiculous, impossible — and utterly wonderful.

It's probably a good thing he didn't know about the dove.

Oddly, though, for Mister Koo to then come around from second on a sacrifice isn't so impossible. I don't think I've seen the pitcher vapor-lock covering home like that enough times to fill one hand's worth of fingers, but two of those fingers are reserved for Yankees facing us: The Antichrist, famously, committed this same blunder in the famed Estes Semi-Revenge Game [3], still the game that boiled up the strangest brew of emotions in me — the oil and water of humiliation and triumph are no closer to mixing now than they were three years ago.

Oh, and three batters faced, three strikeouts was pretty cool too.

Mister Koo's at-bat is the kind of crazy thing that will now ensure I actually watch the next 100 ridiculous spectacles of a middle reliever putting on a batting helmet and staring at the bat like he's making sure he's holding on to the right end. The overwhelming likelihood is that none of those at-bats — not a single blessed one — will result in a double to the gap. But that's OK. At some point during each and every one of them, I'll think of Mister Koo and smile.