“Their faces were completely opposite.”
The South Korean baseball team won the gold medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games on March 7, beating Chinese Taipei.
Nearly a month later, on May 5. The team is back together again. This time, it’s for the upcoming Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC). Despite some changes, most of the players from the Asian Games gold medal team are back.
The players who had spent time together as “comrades-in-arms” had already formed a strong bond. The newcomers, on the other hand, had to adjust to the national team atmosphere at first.
“There are a lot of players in this team who have never played for the national team before,” said Ryu Jung-il. The expressions of the players who came to the Asian Games and the new players are completely different. The players who are familiar with each other from the Asian Games know each other’s faces, so they have talked and eaten together, so they have adjusted to the atmosphere and are more relaxed in training. The newcomers or prospective entrants may feel a bit lost at first.”
In recent years, Korean baseball has faced constant “crisis theories. Last year’s Tokyo Olympics resulted in a bronze medal, and the team failed to advance to the quarterfinals of the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March. After a string of ‘disasters’, the team won a gold medal at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, but lost to Chinese Taipei in the preliminary round. They were also swept 2-0 by Japan, a team that fielded mostly unemployed players.
After analyzing the APBC field, which includes Japan, Australia, and Taiwan, Liu said, “No team is perfect. The competitiveness of other countries is increasing day by day,” he said.
Eventually, there were calls for a system to be put in place that would allow players to work together and improve their skills, such as convening the national team on a regular basis instead of a one-time national team.
In 2017, the KBO appointed Sun Dong-yeol as its first full-time head coach. Sun led the 2017 APBC and 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games, but was criticized for his selection and use of players, leading to a national audit. Sun stepped down, and Kim Kyung-moon took over for the 2019 Premier 12 and 2021 Tokyo Olympics. KT’s Lee Kang-cheol led the team to the last WBC after a poor performance at the Tokyo Olympics and a lack of momentum under the previous managerial system.
In a chaotic situation where there was no clear-cut head coach, Liu was given the opportunity to lead the APBC after a successful Asian Games.
Liu agreed with the idea of a full-time head coach. However, he pointed out that unlike before, there should be a steady exchange. “We need to get together and play more often, and make sure the coaching staff and players don’t feel awkward,” Liu said. Until now, our national team would gather for a few days after a competition, practice, play, and disperse. I personally think that the repetition of this is one of the reasons why we have not been able to perform well in recent world championships.”
“If we had a full-time manager and coaching staff, I think we would have to get together in some way to play and train. For example, sending players to the Australian Baseball League (ABL) is another way to gather the national team’s regular squad.” “This year’s Korean Series ends in mid-November, but from next year, the schedule has been pushed back, so it will end in October. In November, we’ll have a wrap-up camp, and then we can get them together again and play some practice games to familiarize them with each other. I know Japan is doing that now.” Japan has a dedicated national team organization called Samurai Japan.
The constant call-ups to the national team are a positive for the players. In the past, the national team has been a place for players to interact and improve their skills. The pride of being part of the national team also pushes players to improve. “I think it’s good for our competitiveness if we can get together whenever we can, and if we can get a variety of players 바카라사이트 together,” Liu said. “When you train or play with the flag, you get a sense of pride, and you can improve both your skills and your mentality. We can also learn from each other.”