The baseball team, which participated in the World Baseball Classic (WBC), took the long road with great determination. On the 15th (Korean time), the players who gathered in Tucson, Arizona, USA, looked tired. After spending a long time traveling through spring camps in their respective teams, including Australia and Japan, they joined, and the travel was not resolved. Most of them showed a strange sense of tension with their smiles removed.

opportunity and crisis. The gaze of Korean baseball looking at the WBC this time is complicated. The WBC boasts the largest scale among baseball international tournaments. Unlike the Olympics and Asian Games, it is an event hosted by the US Major League Baseball (MLB) secretariat, in which all active big leaguers are mobilized. In this tournament, which celebrated its fifth inning, MLB superstars such as Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani (LA Angels) and Mookie Betts (LA Dodgers) were already confirmed to participate. As such, the WBC is a good opportunity to test the level of Korean baseball against world baseball. However, it can lead to the worst situation where the embarrassing bare face is revealed. Korean baseball has already suffered a major crisis with no medal at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

The greatest revival period for Korean baseball in the 21st century is around 2009. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he achieved a gold medal in 9 matches, and won the runner-up at the WBC held the following year. Good results in international competitions laid the foundation for professional baseball to develop to a higher level. The KBO League regular season crowd broke 5 million in 2008, 6 million in 2011, and 7 million in 2012, breaking records by year. As the number of fans visiting the baseball field increased, interest in the base of Ambaseball also grew. The so-called ‘Beijing Kids’, who started baseball with the baseball craze at the Beijing Olympics, also appeared in the KBO League. Like soccer, which enjoyed a boom after the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup, a warm wind blew for a while.

However, the recent atmosphere is unusual. The number of spectators, which peaked at 8.4 million in 2017, plummeted to 6 million last year. This is actually the lowest record since 2015, when it was operated with a system of 10 professional baseball teams (720 games in total), except for 2020-2021, when there were restrictions on entry due to the spread of corona. One of the reasons for the decline in popularity is the sluggishness of international competitions. It’s a big thing that the fans didn’t recognize the performance. 슬롯사이트

Korean baseball was eliminated in the first round at the WBC in 2017 after a terrible battle. At the Tokyo Olympics, he was caught in Japan and finished the tournament empty-handed. As the national soccer team succeeded in advancing to the round of 16 at the World Cup in Qatar last year, the sense of crisis in and out of the baseball world increased. In order to divert attention from soccer, he must show a different appearance at this WBC. The fact that the KBO broke the pure-blood principle and selected Tommy Edman (St. Louis Cardinals), a mixed-race Korean player, to the national team means that the results of this tournament are just as important.

Park Chan-ho, the ‘Korean Express’, said, “Isn’t the whole world excited about the World Cup? (MLB Secretariat) aims to make the WBC that way, so the promotion of the Korean national team is very important.” It is not a KBO problem, but amateurs should also take it seriously.” 

Lee Jeong-hoo (Kiwoom Heroes), a key resource for the national team, said, “We have to do well so that juniors who will play baseball in the future can be treated well. If you start looking great, the baseball infrastructure will be that good.”

The baseball team, led by KT Wiz coach Lee Kang-cheol, will begin training in earnest on the 16th. Active big leaguers Kim Ha-seong (San Diego Padres) and Edmund plan to join their team in the future after digesting spring camp. It remains to be seen whether he will be able to get the expected report card beyond the evaluation of being a ‘frog in the well’.

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