The NC Dinos have made a bold decision to uphold their “One-Team” values.
On March 3, the NC announced through the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) that Park Gun-woo (33) had been removed from the first team roster. The decision was unusual and surprising for several reasons. First, NC hasn’t been playing well lately. NC had been on a tear in mid-June, at one point sitting just three games out of first place in the KBO. However, a shaky starting lineup led to a slump in momentum, including a 2-8 record in their last 10 games (as of four days ago), and a loss to the Gocheok Kiwoom Heroes on April 4 that left them tied for third place with the Lotte Giants.
More importantly, the decision was made in the absence of injuries and slumps. Park had appeared in 69 games this year, batting .286 with seven home runs, 41 RBIs, six doubles, and an OPS of 0.816. His last 10 games haven’t been bad either, with a .286 batting average. By OPS alone, he was the best hitter on the team. He was clearly contributing on the field, so his demotion to the second team can only be attributed to off-field issues.
Ahead of the game against Gochuk Kiwoom on April 4, Kang Shin-ho said, “A senior player needs not only skill but also virtue. When I became the (official) head coach, I hoped that senior players would not deviate from the One-Team. In that sense, I was very disappointed with Park Gun-woo and felt that he needed time to think about it,” he said, effectively admitting the fact.
So what went wrong? According to baseball insiders, Park had been struggling with his physical fitness and defense since last year. He also reportedly expressed a desire to play as a designated hitter. The problem was that his request didn’t take into account the team’s situation and atmosphere.
Park had already been through a similar situation with Doosan. In June 2021, then-manager Kim Tae-hyung removed Park from the first team, saying, “He said he wanted to rest because he was tired, not because he was out of shape, so I told him to get some rest.” “This is a team, and if the team’s atmosphere is wrong because of a certain player, the manager has to make some decisions. I think that decision was necessary at this point, so I took him out.”
A classic example of this was the substitution request in the bottom of the eighth inning against the KT Wiz in Suwon on April 2, when the team was down 0-1. At the time, Park Gun-woo demanded a substitution even though there were no injuries, and NC, which was missing its starting right fielder and No. 3 hitter, gave up four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning and lost 0-5. Kang said, “I hope this doesn’t get blown out of proportion. It’s true that Park Gun-woo complained of discomfort here and there during last week’s game,” he said, but he didn’t deny that the scene had a big impact, saying, “The decisive game was Sunday.”
There is also a part of the team that hopes that the team that has not been performing well recently will ‘die’. NC will now be without their best batsman for 10 days. He’s effectively out for the first half. Nevertheless, it is significant that the NC members agreed to call up the team’s best hitter, who is not injured, to the first team. Kang, who made the final decision, is well known in baseball circles for his stern style when it comes to unprincipled behavior.
“I thought this was the most important point of the season,” Kang said. I thought the last 15 games of the first half of the season would be an important point in determining where our team would be at the end of the season,” he said, adding, “It’s not my decision (to call up Park). The C-team (second team) coaches will tell me what he’s doing and how he’s playing, and I’ll have to listen to what our players are thinking and make a decision,” he said firmly.메이저놀이터
Even with the immediate loss of power, the decision was made for the good of the season and the future of NC and Park. Park and NC, who signed a six-year, 10 billion won free agent contract ahead of the 2022 season, have many more years together.
As the saying goes, the ground hardens after rain, and NC is hoping that the 10-day suspension of the first team will serve as an opportunity to become a ‘one team’. “As a coach, it’s not about taming the players or disciplining the team. I wanted to send a message that we shouldn’t deviate from the principles that I have always had,” he said. “Park Gun-woo is a player who represents Korea, and I have friends who play baseball while watching him. I hope he has time to think about it and mature.”