It's been quite some time since the Toronto Blue Jays have dominated the sports headlines in the city. But that has all changed over the past few days, as the 6ix's baseball team has made serious waves. Free-agent Hyun-Jin Ryu was officially introduced as the Blue Jay's newest member on Friday, December 27 and many fans have fallen for him already.
Ryu, a left-handed starting pitcher, signed a four-year, $80 million contract with the Blue Jays. This is the third-largest contract signed in the history of the team, according to 680 News.
The South Korean player finished second in voting for the National League's Cy Young Award, the top pitching award, after a season of 14 wins, 2.32 ERA, and 163 strikeouts.
When he takes the field in 2020, he'll be the third Korean-born player to do so for the Blue Jays.
During his formal introduction to the media, Ryu quickly showed his bilingual skills by greeting in Canada's two official languages. "Hello Canada, Bonjour," he said.
This interesting introduction was enough for many fans to be completely endeared by Ryu, even at the expense of other players.
"So I see Hyun-Jin Ryu is already my favourite Jay, sorry Bo," one user wrote.
"Omg, Hyun-Jin Ryu is adorable," another fan exclaimed.
So I see Hyun-Jin Ryu is already my favourite Jay, sorry Bo.— ✨nylander wooh nation✨ (@✨nylander wooh nation✨)1577485543.0
Omg Hyun-Jin Ryu is adorable. #bluejays— Jenny-P 🇨🇦 (@Jenny-P 🇨🇦)1577482488.0
Hyun-Jin Ryu is already a Blue Jays fan favourite after awesome moment during introductory presser. VIDEO @… https://t.co/YWvzQ45Aq3— BarDown (@BarDown)1577487307.0
My personal take after watching Hyun-Jin Ryu's introductory press conference with the #BlueJays: He is the GOAT. T… https://t.co/h3Enr8iTjv— Braydon Holmyard (@Braydon Holmyard)1577483386.0
It was also announced that Ryu would be wearing 99, a number that is instantly recognizable as that of perhaps the greatest hockey player ever: Wayne Gretzky.
“Canada lent number 99 to LA, so with Hyun-Jin we thought we would return it back to Canada," said his agent Scott Boras at the press conference, referring to Gretzky being traded from Edmonton to Los Angeles in 1988.
Hyun-Jin Ryu’s agent Scott Boras on Ryu wearing #99 with the @BlueJays: “Canada lent number 99 to L.A., so with Hyu… https://t.co/r1Ippy1aUR— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet)1577484921.0
Numerous people have noted how Ryu's signing with Toronto will tremendously increase the team's popularity in South Korea.
All the Blue Jays games will be broadcast in his home country in 2020, and even Ryu noted how when he came to Toronto in 2013 he saw the "Korean fervor" of the fans in the city.
Hyun-Jin Ryu and the connection with Toronto's Korean population: "There are a lot of Korean fans here. I came he… https://t.co/1Gco6DCfih— Lukas Weese (@Lukas Weese)1577482951.0
The addition of Hyun-Jin Ryu is not only a big moment for Toronto's South Korean community, but also for the millio… https://t.co/3STuMBnYkJ— Toronto Star Sports (@Toronto Star Sports)1577462436.0
While baseball season is still months away, the singing of Ryu and the team's core of Vladimir Guerrera, Bo Bichette and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. may have Blue Jays fans more excited for the next season that they've been for some time.