After 13 years, I thought I saw ‘Lotte’s famous shortstop’… Third baseman Park Kun-woo turned it upside down
- on Mar 03, 2023
“(Park) Geon-woo, don’t get hurt and just go out and stand.”
This is what Kim Min-jae, the defensive coach of the Korean national baseball team, said while entrusting outfielder Park Geon-woo (33, NC Dinos) to the unfamiliar third base. Park Kun-woo started as the ninth hitter and third baseman in a practice match against SSG Landers held at Gocheok Sky Dome on the 3rd. Park Kun-woo had experience playing third baseman in Seoul High School, but he has always played as an outfielder in his professional career.
Originally, the third baseman on this day was scheduled to be coach Kim Min-jae. Choi Jeong (SSG), the national team’s main third baseman, was in poor condition, so there was no suitable replacement. Ha-seong Kim (San Diego) and Tommy Hyeon-soo Endman (St. Louis) are the backup third basemen for the national team, but the two major leaguers were unable to participate on this day because they could not participate in unofficial practice matches under the rules of the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC).
Early in the afternoon, the national team sent in all players except for infielders Kim Ha-seong and Edmon, and pitchers Koo Chang-mo (NC) and Won Tae-in (Samsung), who conducted live batting and pitching. The mound was filled with varsity pitchers on both sides, and the lineup allowed both teams to bat 10 times. Among the fielders of the national team, outfielder Choi Ji-hoon (SSG) and catcher Lee Ji-young (Kiwoom) joined SSG. After making everyone run like that, there was no infielder left, so coach Kim Min-jae even came up with the idea of wearing a uniform and going to the ground.
The national team lineup initially had only three designated hitters, including Park Kun-woo, Park Hae-min (LG), and Kang Baek-ho (kt), without a third baseman. Then, just before the start of the game, coach Kim Min-jae entrusted third base to Park Gun-woo.
A KBO official hinted, “There is no need to attach much importance to Park Kun-woo’s appearance as a third baseman. Right before the game started, coach Kim Min-jae said, ‘Don’t go out and get hurt, just go and stand.” Even if third base is a little unfamiliar to Park Kun-woo, he saw that it was more meaningful for a player to go to the ground than a coach. One of the purposes of the practice game is to prepare for various variables that will arise when an injured player occurs in the competition.
Coach Kim Min-jae was evaluated as a ‘famous shortstop’ when he was a player. After graduating from Busan Technical High School, he joined the Lotte Giants in 1991 and served as their main shortstop until 2001. After that, he succeeded in signing two FA contracts, continuing his career as a player at SK Wyverns (now SSG) and Hanwha Eagles, and took off his uniform at the end of 2009. Thanks to his stable defense, he was also selected for the national team and contributed to the 2006 WBC quarterfinal myth and the 2008 Beijing Olympic gold medal. It was an opportunity to see coach Kim Min-jae walking around the ground wearing the national team uniform again 13 years after his retirement, but I couldn’t see the scene in the end.메이저놀이터
Park Kun-woo surpassed the fact that he filled Choi Jeong’s void well and turned the game upside down. He had 3 hits and 4 RBIs, including a home run. His batting quality was so good that all three of his hits were long hits that extended to the front of the fence. He hit a superior-time double in the bottom of the fifth inning with a 2–1 lead, setting the stage for a 4–1 run away. He wanted it to be a home run, but it hit the top of his fence and fell, resulting in a double. At the end of the 7th inning, with a 5-2 lead, he hit a solo shot in mid-month against SSG pitcher Jeong Cheol-won (Doosan), and at the end of the 9th inning Kim Won-joong (Lotte) took 2 RBIs and a timely double in mid-month, leading to a 10-2 victory.
I was cheered for the unexpected lake rain. Park Kun-woo attempted a running throw to first base when Choi Sang-min bunted at first base safely in the top of the 6th inning. The result was safe, but it was an astute play. In the ensuing run with no bases loaded, Oh Tae-gon rushed forward to snatch the batted