Shocked from start to finish” 1st anniversary of Tokyo Dome shock, how much Korean baseball has changed

About a year ago, on March 9, 2023, the Korean national baseball team knelt down 7-8 against Australia in the first World Baseball Classic match held at Tokyo Dome in Japan. How much has changed in Korean baseball in the year since the Tokyo Dome shock.룸알바

The loss against Australia was more than just a loss. Until now, Australia had been classified as a baseball fringe. The professional league ABL was founded in 2010, but until recently, it was more of an amateur. Baseball is not a popular sport in Australia. As a country with so many diverse lifestyles, there is a great perception that baseball is also one of the many sports that can be played. Among them, some players with exceptional talents challenged the U.S. minor leagues, transferred to the Japanese or KBO leagues, and succeeded as major leaguers like Liam Hendrix (Boston Red Sox).

Of course, his presence in international competitions was not clear. When Australia was decided as the first opponent of the WBC Korean national team last year, he felt less pressure. He just wanted to be wary of letting his guard down.

However, the Korean national team had an unexpected and chaotic situation against Australia. Australian batters were easy, and they hit three home runs against Korean pitchers. Contrary to expectations that Australian pitchers, who are overwhelmed physically, have overcome the crisis by throwing fastballs. The 7-8 loss at the match against Australia confirmed that the overall level of world baseball has risen, and a warning light was turned on that Korean baseball was a frog in a well trapped in a league. Still unable to overcome the aftermath of the defeat against Australia, the team ended up with a complete defeat of 4-13 at the match against Japan, narrowing the gap between Korea and Japan. Victory over the Czech Republic and China was no comfort at all. The Korean national baseball team accepted the poor result of its first-round elimination for three consecutive WBC games.

The real emergency light was on. There must have been some complacency. There were difficulties in the preparation process, lack of tricks, and many difficulties that could not be solved as planned, but I realized once again that all these were just excuses in the professional world. In particular, Japan, which has a wider gap, cracked its pride as it beat the “strongest” U.S. in the final and won the trophy.

There were many skeptics in the baseball community regarding the full-time managerial system for the national team, but they made a decision again to adopt the full-time managerial system. At the Asian Games and the Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) held after the World Baseball Organization (WBC), the national team was formed with players in their 20s. These games involved age restrictions, but wild cards were not used for players in their 30s. These games demonstrated the national team’s commitment to change generations. It was the beginning of a change that requires us to nurture international players.

One year after the Tokyo Dome disaster, changes in the Korean baseball are still ongoing. If players in their 20s confirmed their potential last year, it is time to bring about meaningful results. The Premier 12 in November this year and the WBC in early 2026 are expected to be true test stages.

Above all, the central axis should remain unchanged. KBO should revive its full-time coach system after the WBC games, aggressively host friendly matches, and implement consistent projects such as long-term national team growth plans.

Korea is the most unfavorable environment. As of now, there is no stadium itself that deserves to host an international competition. Gocheok Sky Dome, the only dome stadium that Major League teams will soon visit, also has the stigma of being a “half dome.” On the other hand, Taiwan, which was considered one step below, recently opened its latest large-scale dome stadium, Taipei Dome, and has always been active in attracting international competitions such as Premier 12 and WBC. We have been passive over the past few years because we don’t have a good stadium, and even if we actually want to hold a competition, we don’t have a good environment at all to guarantee success.

Therefore, you always have to leave overseas training and move abroad to play games. Moreover, even friendly matches for the national team cannot be approached simply by saying, “Why don’t we just make it an event?”

However, Korea cannot afford to let go of such environmental issues. Korea is not obsessed with the color of its medals. As a sport in which professional leagues are extremely rare in the world, such as baseball, competitiveness in international competitions can provide an opportunity to confirm the level of its own leagues. I have already confirmed several times that poor performance in international competitions can lead to a decline in league confidence. Japan is bent on steadily raising the level of its own leagues through performances in international competitions such as world ranking management. This is something that Korea has been missing so far.

“The results of the championship were shocking from start to finish,” said one player who joined the WBC national team last year. “It gave me a lot of study. I think I have broadened my perspective on baseball.” Checking the competitiveness of the Korean baseball team serves as the foundation for building the power of the Korean baseball’s roots.

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