“I want to get out of Japan.”
It was the comment of Lee Kang-cheol, the coach of the Korean WBC national team. Indirectly, following the 2009 tournament, he expressed his strong desire to advance to the semifinals for the first time in 14 years. For the national team, which will begin convocation training in Arizona, the United States on the 15th of next month, the top priority is to reenter the United States (Florida) via Tokyo, Japan, where it will digest the first and second rounds.
It’s not an easy goal. If they do not win against Australia, which they will face in the first match of Group B in the first round, there is a high possibility that they will not be able to advance to the second round, let alone the semifinals. If they advance safely to the second round, they will play a single match against the 1st and 2nd places in Group A (Taiwan, Netherlands, Italy, Cuba, Panama).
If Korea realistically goes up to the second round as Group B 2nd place (Japan is likely to be Group B 1st place), then Group A 1st place will advance to the semifinals. In Group A, Taiwan and the Netherlands look a little stronger than the other three countries, but for Korea, there is no easy opponent among the five countries anyway. Since the second round is a one-shot match, there are many variables.
The members of the national team have a responsibility to revive Korean baseball after the humiliation of being eliminated in the first round of the 2013 and 2017 tournaments. There is a good chance that it will act as a burden. On the other hand, there will be strong motivation in the process of preparing for the semifinals.
For some players, this tournament itself is a showcase. Lee Jung-hoo, who received permission from Kiwoom and bid on the Korean-American posting system immediately after the 2023 season, is a representative example. For Lee Jung-hoo, the WBC is a stage where he meets major league pitchers he will face from a year from now. It is 스포츠토토 a great opportunity to indirectly test the competitiveness of the big leagues.
In addition, Kim Hye-seong (Kiwoom) and Ko Woo-seok (LG) are also constantly receiving prospects related to overseas expansion. Of course, it is good to receive attention from officials with good performance in the WBC. There are not a few major league clubs that send international scouts to the WBC. If you advance to the semifinals and go to Florida, of course you can play in front of more major league officials. This is another reason why Korea needs to advance to the semifinals. On the other hand, in the case of Ahn Woo-jin (Kiwoom), who was not selected for the national team, the showcase opportunity was destroyed.
Gone are the days of relying only on patriotism to boost the chemistry of the organization and hope to win. Individual desire for good performance and appropriate motivation can lead to improved team cohesion. If that motivation is overseas, such as the major leagues, it is worthy of applause. The major league challenge is not a privilege given only to Lee Jung-hoo.