It’s off season. But the baseball world was noisy. It was because of Choo Shin-soo (SSG Landers)’s remarks made public during the Lunar New Year holiday.
Players who haven’t responded to national team calls for over 10 years
Choo Shin-soo expressed his views on the formation of the Korean team for the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) in an interview with Dallas Korean Radio Broadcasting Company (DKNET) in the United States. There are many new faces in the Japanese national team in the same Group B, but Kim Kwang-hyeon (SSG Landers), Yang Hyeon-jong (KIA Tigers), and Kim Hyun-soo (LG Twins) remain in the Korean national team. 토토사이트
Choo Shin-soo mentioned Woo-jin Ahn (Kiwoom Heroes) and Dong-ju Moon (Hanwha Eagles), saying, “If you look at the future rather than the current performance, there should have been a lot of newly selected players.” An Woo-jin was a pitcher with two crowns in 2022 (average ERA, strikeouts), and Moon Dong-ju received great attention as the next-generation ace until he was injured.
Shin-soo Choo also agrees. Kim Gwang-hyeon, Yang Hyeon-jong, Kim Hyeon-soo, and Choi Jeong (SSG), who made great strides as national representatives around 2010, will wear the Taegeuk mark in 2023 as well. Choo Shin-soo even had experience playing with them at the 2009 WBC and the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games. Even after 13 years, the aces of the national team are Kim Kwang-hyun and Yang Hyeon-jong, and there will be doubts that Kim Hyun-soo and Choi Jeong remain in the team as fielders. However, Choo Shin-soo has never responded to the call to the national team since the 2010 Asian Games. He will not be able to know everything about the composition of the national team over the past 10 years.
And there is something Choo Shin-soo overlooked. There are veterans such as Kim Gwang-hyun, Yang Hyeon-jong, and Lee Yong-chan (NC Dinos) in the WBC national team pitching staff, but Lee Eui-ri (KIA), So-jun So (kt Wiz), Kim Yun-sik (LG), Koo Chang-mo (NC), Jeong Cheol-won, and Kwak Bin (above Doosan Bears) There are also a number of young guns that will be responsible for future Korean baseball. In the case of Moon Dong-ju, he was not selected this time because he has not yet shown anything in the league (2022 season, 1 win, 5.65 ERA), but in the current situation, almost all potential pitchers have been on the national team. Proof of this is that 7 out of 15 pitchers in the national team were the first to wear the Taegeuk mark. When coach Lee Kang-cheol also announced the final 30 players for the national team, “I wanted to select the national team with a focus on young players. He had to produce results, so he also picked a veteran.”
Looking back at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the part that coach Kim Kyung-moon regretted a lot was the absence of veteran pitchers. At that time, 6 out of 10 pitchers on the national team had been selected for the first time by an adult national team. In baseball, it is a very useless assumption, but if there was at least one of Kim Gwang-hyun and Yang Hyeon-jong, the final result (4th place) of the national team could have been different. At the time, Kim Gwang-hyun and Yang Hyeon-jong were both playing in American professional baseball, so they could not participate in the Olympics during the season.
If you said that there are few outstanding pitchers in Korea,
It is not forced to change the generation of the national team. Artificially inserting younger players into the team does not result in generational change. In the process of accumulating victories, learn how to win and naturally change roles from top to bottom. Just for SSG Landers, who won the championship in 2022, veterans Kim Kang-min, Choo Shin-soo, Kim Gwang-hyun, Choi Jeong and new players Choi Ji-hoon, Park Seong-han, Oh Won-seok, etc. are in harmony, and KBO has no first place in the individual pitching category. For the first time in the history of the league, it won the “Wire-to-Wire Championship” (not missing first place from the opening game to the last day). On the other hand, the Hanwha Eagles managed a season with only young players and stayed in last place for three consecutive years. To win, like SSG, you need the experience of a veteran.
In the case of LG Twins coach Lee Jong-beom, the ‘son of the wind’ who dominated an era, he started playing in the Asian Championship and the World Championship in 1989 as a freshman at Konkuk University, and devoted himself to the nation wearing the Taegeuk mark for 17 years until the 2006 WBC national team. It was because he played the role of a dugout leader that he became the WBC representative at a similar age to the current Kim Hyun-soo. Shin-soo Choo must have felt a lot during his pro career that a dug-out leader is really important, especially in short-term matches. His national competition is no different. Kim Hyun-soo was selected as the national team captain.
If what Shin-soo Choo regretted is the reality of Korean baseball, which is stagnant or whose skills are gradually leveling down, it could have gained support from officials and fans. Kim Gwang-hyun was a player who ranked second in ERA (2.13) and tied for fourth in most wins (13 wins) in 2022. In terms of his individual performance, it was even weirder if he wasn’t picked for the national team. It is not regrettable that Ahn Woo-jin could not hold a showcase for advancement to the major leagues in the biggest baseball tournament, the WBC, but the current state of domestic infrastructure and amateur baseball, given that there are not many pitchers in Korea who can defeat Kim Gwang-hyun and starting face-to-face. What if you had to chew on your back? If so, perhaps there would have been a healthy discussion in baseball.
Ahn Woo-jin, whom he already mentioned, has not yet resolved the issue of school violence in the past. According to the rules of the Korean Olympic Committee, Ahn Woo-jin cannot permanently play in competitions such as the Olympics, Asian Games, and Premier 12. Is the Olympic Taegeuk mark different from the WBC Taegeuk mark?
National competitions do not exist for individual gain. We must not forget the case of the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games, which faced a severe headwind under suspicion that some players were selected for military service benefits even after winning the gold medal. At that time, national team coach Seon Dong-yeol had to attend the National Assembly hearing.
I have no choice but to pick a veteran ‘for grades’
In a situation where baseball’s popularity is declining, the WBC record is the most important issue. This is because, in order to revive the domestic baseball boom, the interest of the general public needs to increase due to improved performance in international games. The spring of baseball in the 2010s came like that. The achievements of the 2006 WBC semifinal, the 2008 Beijing Olympic gold medal, and the 2009 WBC runner-up were piled up one after another, resulting in 8 million spectators for the season (2016-2018). However, as negative issues such as school violence and drunk driving repeatedly emerged, along with the 2013 WBC 1st round elimination, 2017 WBC 1st round elimination, 2018 Asian Games national team selection suspicion, 2020 Tokyo Olympics, 4th place, KBO League popularity has drastically faded. This is why coach Lee Kang-cheol had no choice but to pick veterans such as Kim Gwang-hyun “to get results.”
In the case of major league clubs, they build solid popularity based on local loyal fans, but the KBO league is different. Even a small negative issue staggers the league. It is very regrettable that Choo Shin-soo disparaged the result of the WBC coaches and technical committee’s agonizing over a year as a decision by those who did not speak out for their juniors (Ahn Woo-jin). Borrow his words verbatim and save the article. “I am not a senior just because I played baseball first and was born first.”