The Korean baseball team, which was eliminated in the first round of the World Baseball Classic (WBC), returned home with heavy steps.
The baseball team, led by coach Lee Kang-cheol, returned home via Incheon International Airport on the afternoon of the 14th after finishing the ‘2023 WBC’ held in Tokyo, Japan.
Ha-seong Kim (San Diego) and Tommy Hyun-soo Edman (St. Louis), who are active in the US Major League (MLB), headed to the United States from the field, while captains Hyun-soo Kim and Baek-ho Kang returned home.
Director Lee Kang-cheol also appeared at the arrival hall with a heavy expression and said, “I’m sorry. All the blame is on me,” he said.
The national team was eliminated in the first round with consecutive losses to Australia and Japan, rather than reaching the quarterfinals, which was their goal. The pride of Korean baseball fell to the ground as the WBC was eliminated in the first round for three consecutive times. Even more frightening is the cynical reaction of baseball fans.
There were not a few baseball fans at the airport to get autographs from the national team players, but it was incomparable to the welcoming crowd of the Korean national soccer team, who returned from the ‘2022 FIFA Qatar World Cup’ at the end of last year.
It is impossible to compare the soccer team, which impressed by advancing to the round of 16, and the baseball team, which was eliminated in the first round of the WBC following the no-medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but it was very different from the picture I expected when leaving the country to prepare for the WBC.
It was a very heavy atmosphere. Even the few fans who came to the airport to see the players who returned with poor report cards were unable to actively ask for autographs.
Despite the disastrous national team move, Lee Jeong-hoo, who played a big role in 4 games with a batting average of 0.429 (6 hits in 14 at-bats), 2 walks, 5 RBIs and 4 points, appeared at the arrival hall, but unlike usual, he did not raise his head in front of the reporters. 메이저사이트
Lee Jeong-hoo also recorded multiple hits (2 hits in 4 at-bats) alone in the match against Korea and Japan, which suffered a near-cold defeat (4-13). He reflected on himself after the game, saying, “I felt that our skills were dropping a lot. He will not be frustrated and will develop,” leaving the words, comforting the disappointed baseball fans.
Meanwhile, Kwang-Hyun Kim (SSG) announced his retirement from the national team.
On the 14th, Kim Gwang-hyun said on his SNS, “I grew a lot and learned a lot while playing for the national team. There were times when he had poor grades, but he was not disappointed and was able to become stronger.” Kim Gwang-hyun said, “Being a national representative was a dream and a pride,” and “I think I should pass on the opportunity to learn and grow to my juniors now.”
Kim Gwang-hyun, who made his professional debut at SK (currently SSG) in 2007, is a pitcher who has shared the glory of Korean baseball, such as the 2008 Beijing Olympics gold medal, 2009 WBC runner-up, and 2014 Incheon Asian Games gold medal.