Kim Ha-sung San Diego Padres, who won the Golden Glove in the U.S. Major League Baseball, is taking a commemorative photo at the official news conference held at Hotel Rivera in Gangnam-gu, Seoul on the morning of the 20th. 안전놀이터
Kim Ha-sung 28, San Diego Padres, the first Asian infielder to win the U.S. Major League Baseball MLB Gold Glove, looked back on the 2023 season when he shone brilliantly.
At a press conference held at Hotel Rivera Cheongdam in Gangnam-gu, Seoul on the 20th, Kim Ha-sung said, “I’m honored to be the first Korean to receive a gold glove,” adding, “I’m glad that it motivated many young friends who dream of playing in the Major League and juniors who play in professional baseball.”
Kim Ha-sung was selected as the winner of the National League Utility Defender category at the MLB Gold Glove announced on the 16th. Kim Ha-sung is the first Asian infielder to win this award. It is an achievement that even Japan’s leading players, who knocked on the U.S. stage first in the past, failed to achieve.
However, Kim Ha-sung himself did not directly encounter the moment of the announcement of the award. Because I was sleeping at home. “I didn’t expect too much because I didn’t win the award after being nominated for the shortstop category in 2022,” he said. “I heard that he won because the cell phone vibrated so much.” If you were watching it in person, your heart would have been beating a lot. I’m glad I was sleeping,” he said.
Kim Ha-sung admitted that receiving a gold glove in the utility defender category was more meaningful. “I wish I had received both, but I personally wanted to win in the utility category,” he said. “The second baseman category is good, but I think the utility sector is valuable as the value of multiplayer has increased in the Major League.”
Kim Ha-sung’s main position is shortstop. Even after entering the U.S. in 2021, he played shortstop for two seasons. However, things have changed ahead of this season. San Diego recruited Xander Bogaerts, a high-priced shortstop. Kim Ha-sung was far better in defense, but San Diego left Bogaerts with a shortstop position, whose name value was advanced.
Kim Ha-sung unintentionally moved to second base and transformed into a utility defender as he often took on shortstop and third baseman. And this situation became a blessing in disguise and became a decisive opportunity to be recognized as the league’s best multiplayer. Now he has become an all-around player who can see not only shortstop but also second and third basemen well.
Kim Ha-sung said, “If it wasn’t a burden when changing the position, it would be a lie. At that time, I was not in a situation to cover my position, he said. “The playing time is more important than the position.” “I think I did not have a bad performance as a second baseman because the coaches and the players around me helped me,” he said.
Kim Ha-sung said, “Actually, I didn’t like doing utilities. “It was the same in high school, and it was the same in professional,” he said honestly, “I had a big thought of ‘I only want to see the shortstop,’ and there was a game where I went to third base in professional, but I didn’t like it.”
“But I never thought those experiences would be of great help to the Major League,” he said, adding, “Now that I think about it, I think it served as a stepping stone for the feelings and time that I hated at that time to grow.”
Kim Ha-sung perfectly plays all infield positions except first base, but he still has a more difficult and difficult position. Kim Ha-sung said, “Third base is difficult. It is a position where the ball is too fast and the handling should be good. “I can’t see the angle of the batter,” he said. “If I go out to a place that is not my position, I have to use a lot of concentration and there are some physical difficulties.”
Kim Ha-sung emphasized that this season’s performance is the result of bleeding efforts. “I trained a lot in the early days after entering the U.S. even though I had a bad performance, and I thought about how to do well,” he said. “I hit a lot of machine balls to the point where my thumb swelled up while I was aggressively collapsed, and that passion helped me,” he said. “I think I have good shoulders in defense, so I have confidence that I can get the ball out as long as I catch it. “I think the defensive index has improved as a result of that,” he explained.
Last season, Kim Ha-sung was also a symbol of “Hustle Play.” It became a trademark to take off a helmet or hat in a situation where he threw himself during the play. It is expressed as Kim Ha-sung’s helmet being peeled off even in dolls produced by the club.
In fact, Kim Ha-sung seems to have cared a lot about that. So next season, I decided to make a special helmet that does not come off easily and wear it.
Kim Ha-sung said, “I had a lot of worries. Fans cheered whenever the helmet came off, but personally, I thought the ball might hit my head, so I asked for a special production, he said. “The club also changed various things, but the production this time seems to be less peeled off. “I think it will help my career more if my helmet doesn’t come off,” he said.
Kim Ha-sung, who achieved his big goal of Gold Glove, predicted that he would continue to move forward for greater performance. “After winning the gold glove, I want to continue receiving it in the future,” he said. “The silver slugger giving to a player with good batting was only a finalist, but I will try to win the prize at the same time next year.”