Yang Hyeon-jong (35, KIA Tigers), who is going to the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC), took on the heavy responsibility of leading the pitching team of’Lee Kang-cheol-ho’. He emphasized a sense of mission as he led the juniors along with Kim Gwang-hyeon (35, SSG Landers).
Yang Hyeon-jong said in an interview before leaving for the United States for the KIA spring camp on the 30th, “When the baseball team was convened on the 16th, coach Lee Kang-cheol entrusted the pitching team leader and asked him to lead the young pitchers well. I think I have to do it,” he said. “A lot of younger juniors were selected, and I think I need to communicate well in the future. I have high expectations in that respect as well.”
Yang Hyeon-jong, who wore the Taegeuk mark for the first time at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games, has been active as a national representative for 14 years.
Regarding the meaning of the Taegeuk mark, he said, “I always feel excited and honored whenever I am selected for the national team. However, now that I have accumulated years of experience, I feel a sense of responsibility to do well.” Now that I am the eldest hyung, I have to show a better image in front of younger juniors and show how to deal with it when wearing the Taegeuk mark. There is such a pressure, but I have to overcome it and show it as a result.”
This is the second time Yang Hyeon-jong is participating in the WBC. His first experience was not pleasant, and Korea was eliminated in the first round with straight losses to Israel and the Netherlands in the 2017 tournament.
Yang Hyeon-jong, who played the WBC for the first time in six years, promised to go beyond passing the first round and aim for a performance of the semifinals or higher. He said, “When coach Lee Kang-cheol convened the national team, he said, ‘But shouldn’t we take a flight to the US at least once (for the semi-final tournament)?’ There will be many difficult matches to climb, but if we prepare well and come together as one team, we will be able to pull it off,” he said confidently. 토토사이트
Yang Hyeon-jong, who played an active role as a starting pitcher in the national team, is likely to change his position in this tournament. Manager Lee Kang-cheol expressed his intention to use veterans such as Yang Hyeon-jong and Kim Gwang-hyun as the bullpen, while appointing young pitchers such as Eui-ri Lee (KIA) and So-Jun Sohn (KT Wiz) as starting pitchers. As the WBC has regulations limiting the number of pitches for starting pitchers, it is a plan for well-structured mound management.
Regarding this, Yang Hyeon-jong said, “When I put on the Taegeuk mark, I never thought I was the Korean ace. Other pitchers would be the same.” It may sound embarrassing, but there are still 40 days left until the tournament. It’s okay because I understood the coach’s intentions through the media, prepared my mind, and took care of my body.”
Korean baseball, which enjoyed the most popularity in Korea’s professional sports, has recently been greatly disappointed by various unsavory things. In addition, popularity is waning due to sluggishness in international competitions such as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics No Medal. For this reason, the baseball world has a strong voice that Korean baseball should rebound by achieving good results in this WBC.
Yang Hyeon-jong also feels the heavy responsibility. He said, “Fan service is important, but if the tournament ends with poor results, disappointed fans may turn their backs again.” We really have to do our best to show that we can win.”
“In the national team, you will have a sense of purpose that you must never lose and must win. I will make sure to get good results and prepare well so that the baseball boom can happen again.”