The future of Korean baseball depends on you.”
At the 2023 KBO New Player Orientation held at the Daejeon Convention Center on the 12th, KBO President Heo Gu-yeon gave a welcome message and spared no practical advice and requests.
As the first KBO president, a baseball player who has been on the field for 40 years as a commentator, manager, and coach since the first year of the KBO League in 1982, he instilled a sense of responsibility to 130 newbies on the starting line with a cold grasp of reality.
President Huh said, “41 years have passed since the KBO League. We have to move towards the new 40 years, but from my point of view, Korean professional baseball is still not a frog in the well. We see pitchers who throw 150 km and say, ‘Wow’, but if you go to American minor leagues, Japan, or South America, there are many pitchers like that.”
Next, President Heo said, “I’m sorry, but as a baseball player, there are many times when I feel embarrassed when I watch defensive play. ‘How can such a defense come out?’ There are times when you want to I know that you don’t have enough time to practice sufficiently (with student athletes’ right to study), but you shouldn’t use that as an excuse.”
In fact, the KBO League has been under controversy over poor performance for several years. In 2021, the league average walks per 9 innings was 4.19, the highest ever, and pitchers’ control collapsed. Last year, it was lowered to 3.45 due to the normalized strike zone expansion, but fielders’ defensive errors did not decrease. A total of 1,130 errors were made in 720 games last year. The number of errors is the highest ever. With an average of 1.57 per game, it was the most error season in 26 years since 1996 (1.69).
The national competitiveness of the baseball team is also not as good as before. He had the best golden age by winning the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and runner-up at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in 2009, but in 2013 and 2017, he drank a bitter cup after being eliminated in the first round in succession at the WBC. No medal at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics was an unbelievable reality. 메이저놀이터
President Heo took office in the spring of last year in a situation where the sense of crisis is rising. International competitions such as the WBC in March this year, the Hangzhou Asian Games in September, and the Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) in November await. A year in which life and death depended on Korean baseball, which embarked on a full-fledged generational change. The expectations placed on new players are bound to be higher than ever.
President Huh said to the rookies, “You have to succeed while putting forth all your efforts. The future of Korean baseball depends on you. Expectations are so high. I hope you will focus on self-development.”
President Heo, who cited former SK coach Lee Man-soo as a good example of a successful professional baseball player, said, “I started playing baseball late in my second year of middle school, but I slept 5 hours a day and won three batting crowns for the first time in Korea. He lacks a bit of talent, but Lee Man-soo overcame it with effort.” “There is Kim Ha-seong (San Diego) as a player who will touch you. Ha-seong Kim also said that he moved his house in front of the Gocheok Dome in order to play baseball well during his childhood. It was to reduce travel time (commuting) and focus on baseball. After hearing that, I thought, ‘This friend has a big dream’ and ‘He has a clear goal setting’. Rookies too, from this moment on, you have to dream big. You have to make every effort to live your life according to your dreams.”