Will Park Byung-ho (aged 37) of the KT Wiz, who had a nightmare fall in 2023, be able to create synergy effect with returning MVP Mel Rojas Jr. Coincidentally, both players will play for the 2024 season with the common keyword of “jagi.”
In the second year of his three-year, three-billion-won (3,000,000 dollars) FA contract with KT, Park has properly humiliated himself. Compared to last year when he became the top home run champion (35), the number of home runs (18) was nearly halved, and he suffered the worst slump in batting average of 158, or six hits from 38 times at bat, entering the postseason.
Park started as the fourth batter in all five playoff games against NC, breaking the trend by posting four hits in 20 at-bats, an RBI and a batting average of 20%. With 20 at-bats, Park struck out seven and recorded two double plays, and the only timely hit was in Game 4. 메이저 토토사이트
The Korean Series against LG also showed no significant turnaround. With unlimited trust from manager Lee Kang-chul, he took the fourth batter’s box without any change in batting order, but remained silent as he had no hit in four times at bat in the first game and no hit in four times at bat in the second game. He had a time of peace by displaying multi hits including home runs in Game 3, but had to wait and see LG win the title despite its lackluster performance of having no hit in Game 2, and no hit in three times at bat in Game 5.
“It’s been a while since the end of the season, but I still have a lot in my mind. I have nothing to show but emptiness. If only I had a good performance, I think the outcome would have changed. I had a disappointing Korean Series. I wanted to turn back time,” Park said. “It is winter when I have to reflect on myself. I have to do well next year, so I have to prepare even more. I will spend the winter with new goals.”
The cause of Park’s poor performance in fall baseball, which he self-diagnosed, was “excessive sense of responsibility.” “There is nothing we can do about this. I have no choice but to take responsibility because I have to play a central role in the team, not just because I am a veteran. My personality is a little bit more like that. I could share my burden with other players, but I still think my role is bigger in the team,” Park said.
Born in 1986, Park will turn 38 next year, the last year of his FA contract. In order to spark his final interest in retirement, Park should prepare thoroughly for the offseason. Given Park’s pride as the home run king this year, the 2023-2024 winter season will likely be a harsh one for Park.
“First of all, I have to take care of myself. Even if I try hard, I get injured once in a while, probably because I’m getting older,” Park said. “Now, I can’t play 100 percent full-time. Therefore, I need to build a body that can consistently play 80 percent of the time. I achieved the performance that I could play again last year, but I lacked this year, and I regret a lot. I will prepare to improve myself again.”
Having recently joined KT through the second draft, Woo is one of the factors that can predict Park’s comeback. “It was nice to be on the same team as Park Kyung-soo after a long time, and I was so happy to have him on the phone first,” said Park Byung-ho, who shared his dark days with Woo Kyu-min. “Players who had fond memories when they were young became the most senior players, so I met them again. I hope that players who have little time to play baseball can rely on each other and work together to have fun.”
In addition, KT has hired Mel Rojas Jr., who left for Japan three years ago after winning the MVP of the regular season as a foreign hitter who will play with him for the 2024 season. Rojas is also seeking to make a comeback after spending two years of nightmare in the Japanese pro baseball league. Attention is focusing on whether Park Byung-ho will be able to revive with Rojas in the 2024 season and establish a centerline of fear.