Korean baseball has now become a ‘league of their own’. And the world got farther and farther away. It’s a cliché, but the expression ‘frog in the well’ fits perfectly. I tried to deny it, but now I have confirmed that everyone is equal and not superior in the name of the world. Korean baseball must somehow seek change and develop. 

Korean baseball faced the result of being eliminated in the first round of the World Baseball Classic (WBC) 3 times in a row, following the no medal at the Tokyo Olympics, 2013 and 2017 competitions, and this year’s competition. We use the words humiliation and humiliation, but maybe we are the only ones who can’t accept what is a natural result.

Australia, which was thought to be a formidable enemy but evaluated as one step below, was not a team that could be easily attacked. Australia defeated Korea and passed the first round, aiming for the quarterfinals or higher. The gap with Japan, the ‘old enemy’, has widened. In 2009, Kim Gwang-hyun and Darvish, who were members of the WBC, had an unfortunate starter match. However, in Japan, there were many pitchers who could support and surpass Darvish, and Korea only had to look at Kwang-Hyun Kim, and the pitchers who were regarded as the future could not spread their spirit in front of Japan’s aura. It was not easy to overwhelm even against the Czech Republic, a true baseball periphery. The 22-2 upset against China only played 5 cold games.

Everyone shouted for strengthening international competitiveness and pledged to promote international competitions. In this tournament, from last year’s final qualifiers, in which the Czech Republic participated, to various evaluation matches, the power analysis team analyzed the strength of expected opponents early on. And they rated it as ‘exceeding expectations’ and ‘not easy’. This evaluation was also delivered to the players, but it was difficult for the players to feel the power until they directly faced each other. And when I faced them, I had no choice but to struggle.

Lee Jung-hoo said, “Many young players, including me, participated, but it was a tournament where I felt inferior compared to many players around the world.” Kim Ha-seong also said, “I think it’s an excuse no matter what I say, and in baseball, you don’t know who will win. But I think the Australian players did better than us. Compared to Premier 12, I felt that Australia was more structured and well-prepared. Japanese pitchers also have good balls, so I think they are good pitchers.”

Won Tae-in also said, “Honestly, I felt a lot of walls. I play baseball with good treatment in the league, but there is no excuse for dropping out three times in a row. I really felt that I was a frog in a well. I think I will have to change my mind when I go back to Korea,” he said.

All players felt it and all officials watched. South Korea has confirmed that it should no longer remain in the well. So now we have to get out of the well. Considering the realistic skills of the players, it may be difficult to advance overseas. It is difficult to find players who can knock on the overseas stage, except for Lee Jung-hoo, who is aiming to advance to the major leagues right now. 

Even so, we should not settle for Korea and try to experience advanced baseball. Considering the ransom formed in the free agent (FA) market, it has reached a level where players can no longer be challenged. You can’t blame the players for not challenging themselves. However, it is necessary to create an atmosphere in the consciousness of common problems and expect change to occur.

If it is not possible to make a request to an individual, an institution or organization can take the lead. Regular national team evaluation matches are one way. Japan played against major league all-stars to maintain its global competitiveness, and prior to international competitions, held evaluation matches with national teams from various countries such as Taiwan, Australia, and Cuba to maintain the identity of the national team and a sense of international competitions.  안전놀이터

Of course, there are not one or two problems to be solved, such as the supply and demand of players for the game, the consent of the clubs, and the attraction of sponsorship for the event, but now is not the time to choose the means and methods to strengthen competitiveness. Our status has fallen so that we can no longer take care of our pride.

Now, Korea has been pushed from the center of world baseball to the periphery. It is difficult to maintain the status quo as well as develop if we are no longer complacent. This year, there is the Hangzhou Asian Games and the Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC), where players under the age of 24 participate. This should be taken as a cornerstone. Right now, at the Paris Olympics in 2024, baseball was excluded from the official event, and the Premier 12 competition is at the level of abolition. The time to confirm the change is the 2026 WBC, which will be held in three years. We need to see what the new changes will lead to in three years. The choice to go out of the well should now be considered essential.

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