“I hope there will be more national team evaluation matches in baseball.”
These are the words left by Lee Jung-hoo (25, Kiwoom Heroes), who returned from playing the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC).
The grand ambition of the Korean baseball team, which tried to revive the Korean baseball boom through the WBC, ended in vain with the humiliation of being eliminated in the first round three times in a row. With the national team whose status has fallen to the ground due to consecutive sluggishness in international competitions, the baseball world is criticizing and even voicing internal self-examination.
Lee Jung-hoo, who played for the WBC as a member of the national team, also bowed his head, saying, “(Through the WBC), he must have realized that his skills were lacking. There is no room for excuses.” In the first round (4 games), he had a batting average of 0.429 (6 hits in 14 at-bats), 5 RBIs, 2 walks, 1 stolen base, and 3 runs, delivering small consolation to baseball fans.
Looking back at the WBC, Lee Jung-hoo left a meaningful message. It was a story about his national team call-up.
“I think we need to learn what we need to learn,” said Lee Jung-hoo, who said, “We convene the national team only when there are international competitions. In the case of Japan, we convene the national team every year.”
Japan, which finished third in the 2013 WBC, immediately moved to strengthen the international competitiveness of the national team. He appointed a full-time coach, and called the national team every year to play training and evaluation matches. Through this, various young players gained experience wearing the national team uniform. As a result, Japan succeeded in advancing to the semifinals with a total of 5 victories in this WBC.
Lee Jung-hoo emphasized, “There are many young players in this national team, but I was very nervous because I was playing my first national team game on a big stage (without an evaluation match with other countries), and I couldn’t show my skills.”
Korea also had evaluation matches with KBO league teams while going through field training in the US and domestic training. However, there is a big difference in terms of mindset and tension between facing a domestic team that is still incomplete and facing a WBC participating country.
Lee Jung-hoo said, “I think it would be good if we also regularly play friendly matches with other countries to gain experience in advance.”
He continued, “Experienced seniors also said they were very nervous ahead of the WBC, but what about the younger players? Rather than wearing a national team uniform and going to a big game right away, if you play several games in advance and go to the main tournament, you will be able to achieve better results.” I think it is,” he added.
For Lee Jung-hoo’s wish to become a reality, the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), which runs the national team, must step in.메이저놀이터 It is also necessary for professional clubs to decide to send players away. First of all, the KBO held an executive committee on the 16th and agreed to prepare mid- to long-term measures to improve league performance and national team competitiveness.