In less than a week Hyun-jin Ryu has gained another two million fans.
Not for his pitching that could net him the 2013 Rookie of the Year. Not for his South Korean nationality, which has earned him fans across the globe. And not even from the exposure of playing in Los Angeles.
No, Ryu gained the fans because of a YouTube video in which he plays catch with a young fan at Dodger Stadium.
Ryu's viral video follows the positive exposure Matt Kemp received for giving a disabled fan his jersey - an act caught on video that also went viral.
Uploaded on May 13th from a fan video account, it shows the Korean pitcher playing toss during batting practice with a young fan in the bleachers. The fan was wearing a number 2 Dodgers jersey with the embroidered name, "Deuce."
If you have not made it out to games the last few years, "Deuce" is practically a fan favorite of Dodger fans.
When the "Don’t Stop Believing" Guy started to wear out fans with his staged theatrics, the young "Deuce" charmed stadium-going Dodger fans by making it onto the video boards practically every night with his dancing, jumping, air guitar shredding, and overall childhood antics.
How Deuce started playing catch with Ryu is not shown in the video, but I can only assume that it happened on an impulse. He even imitates Ryu and his wind-up, making the video that much more charming.
Ryu is a quiet figure, usually associated with a cultural quirk or “Gangnam Style” reference amongst fans. That is why this video is even more special, it shows that he is still friendly even if he may not have adapted to the states yet.
He could have ignored “Deuce” and nobody would have ever noticed, but he played a simple game of catch and now everyone is talking about him.
Video commenters were touched.
“That’s a cool move, that kid won’t ever forget that moment,” one wrote. “Wow, Ryu is a class act” said another.
Those were typical of the 1,000-plus comments on the video.
For a team that deals with a barrage of negative sentiment every day, at least these viral acts of kindness show character among these high-dollar players and a reason for fans to continue to love this team.