2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) Dominican Republic Nelson Cruz was born in 1980 and is 43 years old this year. He made his major league debut in Milwaukee in 2005 and played in Texas, Baltimore, Seattle, Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Washington, and San Diego this year. Last January, he signed a free agent contract for one year and $1 million and became a teammate of Kim Ha-seong.
His major league career spans only 18 years. Although he was suspended for 50 games in 2013 for a banned substance problem, he is treated as a hero in the Dominican Republic by hitting 459 homers in his career.
He also served as the captain of the national team. He has played for 7 teams in the major leagues, has short feet, and even has an outgoing personality, so he decided to lead the national team himself. He chose himself, the general manager, as a national team player, so his personality is worth knowing.
Cruz made his first appearance in the tournament on the 15th (Korean time) in Group D against Israel. He entered Juan Soto’s right fielder in the rain at the beginning of the 7th inning, when the score gap was wide at 7-0, then hit a left-handed hit in the bottom of the 7th at bat and stepped home when Jin Segura’s follow-up double hit. It was a day that made his presence evident as a player.
Cruz’s confidence in choosing him for the national team is attributable to it. Foreign media report that he is widely trusted by juniors who dominate the major leagues, such as Soto, Manny Machado, Jeremy Pena, and Sandy Alcantara. It is hard to imagine in Korean baseball that a 43-year-old player wears a national team uniform. First of all, it’s hard to support your skills, and it’s because you hear sarcasm about whether you still eat national team meals at that age.
The Korean national team, which was eliminated in the first round of WBC 3 times in a row, returned home quietly through Incheon International Airport on the 14th. However, Kim Gwang-hyun posted a post on his SNS titled “Thank you for supporting the national team Kim Gwang-hyun so far.” This is the so-called national team retirement declaration. He used expressions such as “I feel like I have to hand over this opportunity to learn and grow to my juniors” and “I am indignant”.
Previously, after the match against China on the 13th, Kim Hyun-soo, captain of the national team, said, “I’m done now. It’s the last time I wear a Korea uniform.”
It is very unusual for a baseball player to say that he is retiring from the national team. In baseball, there are not as many national competitions as there are in soccer, and there is no tournament with absolute authority such as the World Cup, so the expression of national team retirement is unfamiliar.
The national team is not a position that I can choose whether I want to do it or not. Literally, the best players represent their countries in international competitions. Age doesn’t really matter, and it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve played for the national team. Just a player who is good enough to qualify is necessary and sufficient.
The announcement of retirement from the national team by Kim Gwang-hyun and Kim Hyun-soo needs to be approached in light of such essential aspects. It is not an era where we discuss the responsibility to raise the nation’s status with patriotism, but the sacredness and nobility of the national team remain unchanged regardless of the East and the West.
Kim Kwang-hyun and Kim Hyun-soo’s declaration of retirement sounds like “Don’t pick me in the future” because it came at a time when fans’ criticism was pouring right after the WBC dropout.
The two players are not even taking off their professional uniforms right away. Kim Gwang-hyun, who signed a four-year contract last year, will play until 2025. Kim Hyun-soo, who signed a contract for up to six years with the LG Twins, must fulfill his duties as a player until 2027. The two will do their best during the contract period.
The next WBC will be held in 2026. In 2025, if Gwang-Hyun Kim has an average ERA of 2 points in 15 wins and Hyun-Soo Kim raises 100 RBIs with a batting average of 30%, what should the KBO Technical Committee do? If the national team doesn’t like it, it’s just a matter of earnestly notifying the KBO at an appropriate time. I am not aware of the cruel feelings of Kim Gwang-hyeon and Kim Hyeon-soo, but it is not polite to be called a ‘player’ as if pushed by something about what happened a few years later.
From some time ago, a wide and thick atmosphere was formed among Korean professional baseball players. When they entered Korea on the 14th, coach Lee Kang-cheol stood in front of the media, but the team quietly left the airport. I don’t know who said that, but it’s probably because of the development of online and the spread of social media. There is no player who wants to be criticized.
This disaster is the result of the cumulative and total insolvency of Korean baseball, not the responsibility of a specific person or group. So, at this point, it is awkward to announce the retirement of the national team.
Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman is an American national and has competed in the WBC for the second time in a row as a representative of Canada, the country of his mother who died when he was 10 years old.먹튀검증 Canada, which has never reached the quarterfinals of the WBC, is not easy to pass the first round this time as well. Freeman said he would love to wear a Canadian jersey whenever he gets the chance. Of course, as long as you have skills, age doesn’t matter.
Other countries, such as the Dominican Republic, Canada, and the United States, have a different perception of the national team than ours. Still, since the launch of the WBC in 2006, no player from any country has ever said that he is retiring from the national team.
We’ll have to wait and see who else will talk about retiring from the national team.