Baseball player Choi Jung, “I hope the last dance with Park Byung-ho and Kim Kwang-hyun ends with winning the WBC.”
With baseball excluded from the official event at the 2024 Paris Olympics, the “baseball international competition” will not be held for the time being after the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC).
For Choi Jung (36, SSG Landers), who has consistently played for the national team since 2009 WBC, it could be the last chance for WBC to play for the national team in 2023.
WBC is expected to be the last time in 2023 to participate in international competitions with his friend Park Byung-ho (37, kt wiz) and Kim Kwang-hyun (35, SSG), who has been working with his team for a long time.
Baseball player Choi Jung said, “I hope our ‘Last Dance’ will be finished with a victory like Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls.”
He left for Verovich, Florida, on the 25th.
He plans to leave the country five days earlier than the main camp on the 30th and warm up at the SSG Spring Camp training center.
Baseball player Choi Jung said, “I built my body faster than usual. “When I arrive in the U.S., I will start technical training such as hitting,” he said.
He accelerated his training because of the WBC.
The 2023 WBC will open on March 8th, when the KBO League exhibition game is usually held in Korea.
South Korea, which belongs to Group B, will play their first match against Australia at Tokyo Dome in Japan on March 9.
Baseball player Choi Jung said, “To be honest, I’m worried. “I don’t even remember playing the exhibition game in good condition,” he confessed, adding, “We have to find a sense of hitting quickly.” Fortunately, looking at the national team’s schedule, they set up a lot of warm-up matches. He said, “I want to improve my sense of play as soon as possible and perform as well as possible.”
There is only one “professional third baseman” in the Korean national team this time.
Kim Ha-sung (San Diego Padres) and Tommy Hyun-soo Edman (St. Louis Cardinals) can also play as third baseman, but KT Wiz manager Lee Kang-chul is planning a lineup where Kim Ha-sung and Edman will play as a key-con combination and Choi Jung will play third base.
Choi Jung said, “The international competition is a short-term match, so it is better for the best player to participate on the day.” Still, the coach’s burden will be reduced only when the coach runs the game as he first envisioned it, he said. “I also have a desire to do well.” “I really want to help the team in this WBC,” he said.
He said, “In this WBC, other countries have also built their strongest power. “We also want to go all the way to the U.S. and play against world-class players,” he added.
If Korea ranks in the top two among the five Group B countries (Korea, Japan, Australia, the Czech Republic, and China) in the first round, it will compete in the quarterfinals against the first or second place in Group A (Cuba, Taiwan, the Netherlands, Italy and Panama).
If they win the quarterfinals, they move to the U.S. and play in the semifinals.
Choi Jung, who aimed to advance to the semifinals, carefully mentioned “winning” after recalling the faces of his teammates who had played together for a long time.
No one can guarantee the result. But to do your best, I can promise.
Choi Jung said, “I will do my best to win every game. However, even if we lose, we will show our indolent appearance so that fans can admit that we fought really well,” he vowed.
Last year, Choi Jung had a ‘season that wasn’t lazy at all’.
SSG achieved the “wire to wire victory” in 2022 for the first time in the KBO League, which did not give up the top spot for a single day from the opening game to the end of the regular season.
Choi Jung said, “It was really hard mentally to achieve a wire-to-wire victory that no one had ever experienced. “It was as burdensome as I wanted to achieve that record,” he said. “As I won the regular season with wire-to-wire, the burden was greatly reduced in the Korean Series.” The 2023 season can be played with relatively less burden. Of course, my goal this year is to win again.”
Last year, Choi Jung, who will hold the “last international competition” in March this year amid another tension, is actually more worried about his time on the plane than the “ground.”
Choi Jung said, “I always get stressed when I fly long distances. “I hope this year is the last spring camp in the U.S.,” he said. “Once you arrive, the training environment is really good, but there are no direct flights to Florida and it is difficult to adjust to the time difference.” Actually, I purposely didn’t fall asleep yesterday and came to the airport this morning. I’m already tired, I’m out of my mind,” he said, complaining of unexpected pain.