Park Hae-min hits a line drive into center field. The right fielder settles in. A fly out ends the seventh inning. It’s the beginning of the eighth inning. The fans’ eyes are focused on one place. The bullpen opens, and who will take the mound? As he walks out the door, he squats down for a moment and carves something into the ground. Im Chan-kyu appears with a pensive look. (23rd, Jamsil, Hanwha-LG)
It’s a spectacle. The crowd on the third base side stands up and backs up. The majestic Yuseong cheer begins. “Choi, Kang, Han, Hwa,” they chant. The first baseman replies. “Mu.enemy.l.g.” rings out. The top of the eighth inning heats up like that.
Two batters later, Lee Do-yoon walks. It’s a hit in front of the center fielder. It’s only a single, but it’s enough. It’s back to the boiling point. Park Sang-un comes to bat. An eight-pitch battle ensues. In the middle of it, a foul ball travels as far as a home run. Cheers and sighs are mixed.
The final pitch was a slow curveball. A swinging strike gets the 24th out.
The home team’s starter pumped his fist. It’s an uppercut. I don’t know how many times he’s done it in this game already, but it doesn’t matter. He gets a standing ovation. He takes off his hat and raises it to the crowd. It’s a performance worthy of an ace. It was a very fitting end to a very fitting day.
It was the game of a 13-year pitcher’s life. He gave up only 5 hits until the 8th inning. The first inning home run (Chae Eun-sung) was the only blemish. The rest was perfect. She struck out six and had a no-hitter. There were no threats. His fastball, curveball, and changeup were outstanding. He finished with 96 pitches.
With 12 wins, he broke his career high. Among the Koreans, he was at the top of the list with Ko Young-pyo.
His last eight-inning game is a blur. It was in 2012, when he was 20 years old. “Modern baseball says you don’t have to pitch until the eighth or ninth inning. But I wanted to pitch, and I didn’t because I wasn’t good enough. I reflect a lot.” (Postgame interview)
The team has been on a roll since August. They have won six games (one loss) in nine. At this point, I’m reminded of Cha Myung-seok, and the wonderful things he wrote. It was the end of July. He had just completed a rare trade. He used the words “Hwakwang Banjo” and “catfish effect” on stage.
“I was thinking, ‘If Choi Won-tae is good enough to come to our team, he should be able to make three starts. Actually, I didn’t like the fact that Lim Chan-gyu was playing three, and I thought, ‘Your place should be the fourth.'”
Of course, 90% of this is a joke. But there’s 10% of sincerity. At the time, Lim Chan-gyu didn’t provide much stability. The public opinion was that he had to do it for the presidency. In reality, it’s more than that. The excitement of completing the difficult trade was predominant. Coach Yeom Kyung-yup also welcomed the news, saying, “I got a savior.”
But then things got weird. First, the “catfish effect” was evident. After Choi Won-tae arrived, there was a collective awakening. Im Chan-kyu is a representative. Lee Jung-yong, Kim Yun-sik, and Lee Ji-gang are also pitching well. The starting lineup has become competitive.
That’s not all. Casey Kelly is also getting back to his old form. Now all we need is Adam Plutko to come back and we’re good to go. So far, so good after the trade.
However, there is a serious problem. The catfish effect party is underperforming. Won-tae Choi continues to struggle after the trade. In seven games (2-2), he has an 8.27 ERA. In his last three games, he hasn’t made it past the fifth inning. Finally, on the 11th, he was removed from the roster.
It’s hard not to think of him as a reminder. Fans have come to regret the trade-off. The team had to sacrifice its future to get Choi Won-tae. They gave up Lee Joo-hyung, Kim Dong-gyu, and a first-round pick (2024).
Especially Lee Joo-hyung, the team regretted it. The loss of a highly prized prospect in a single day is heartbreaking. As it turns out, his potential exploded as soon as he changed teams. In 42 games, he has 169 hits in 56 at-bats, a .331 batting average, and six home runs. He has already established himself as a key part of the Heroes’ batting lineup.메이저사이트
Naturally, fans who loved him are feeling uncomfortable. They pound their calculators and remember painful memories. “Why did they trade him,” “I keep thinking of Park Byung-ho, Jong-ho Park, and Park Kyung-soo,” “Why do my fingers hurt when I watch Kiwoom play,” and so on.
Of course, the jury is still out on this trade. The first income statement won’t be available until October. But it’s inevitable that you’re going to keep asking questions, and you’re going to be disappointed. It’s a vicious cycle that puts even more pressure on you.
In the end, you have to prove yourself. The person who caused the ‘catfish effect’ has finished adjusting his physical condition. He is expected to make his comeback appearance today (April 24).