A bold decision was made for the value of ‘One-Team’ that the NC Dinos valued so much.
On the 3rd, NC announced through the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) that Park Kun-woo (33) was excluded from the first team entry. It was an unusual and surprising decision in many ways. First of all, NC’s performance has not been good recently. NC continued to breakout in mid-June, once aiming for the top of the KBO League to the extent that it was only 3 games away from the 1st place team. However, as the starting lineup faltered, momentum was dampened, including 2 wins and 8 losses in the last 10 games (based on the 4th before the game).
Above all, it drew a lot of attention because it was a decision made in a situation where there were no injuries or sluggishness. Park Gun-woo played in 69 games this year and recorded a batting average of 0.286, 7 homers, 41 RBIs, 6 stolen bases, and an OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 0.816. His performance in the last 10 games was also not bad with a batting average of 0.286. In terms of OPS alone, he was the number one hitter on the team. On the field, the player’s 2nd team, who was clearly contributing, could only be seen as having a problem outside of his skills.
Coach Kang In-kwon said ahead of the match against Gocheok Kiwoom on the 4th, “Senior players need not only skills but also virtues to match them. I felt very sorry for Park Kun-woo, and I felt that the player needed time to think for himself,” he said, virtually admitting that fact.
If so, what part was the problem? According to the baseball world, it is known that Park Kun-woo has revealed the burden of physical strength and defense since last year. Rumor has it that he consistently expressed his desire to play as a designated hitter. The problem is that the request did not consider the team situation and atmosphere.안전놀이터
Park Kun-woo already had a similar precedent during his days at Doosan. In June 2021, Doosan coach Kim Tae-hyung excluded Park Kun-woo from the first team and said, “Rather than being in poor condition, he said he wanted to rest because he was tired, so he told me to rest.” You have to make a decision. For now, I think that decision was necessary, so I excluded it.”
In NC, a typical example was the request for a replacement ahead of the defense at the end of the 8th inning, where the team lost 0-1 against KT Wiz in Suwon on the 2nd. At that time, Park Gun-woo requested a replacement even though he had no other injuries, and NC, missing the right fielder and third batter, lost 0-5 with 4 runs at the end of the 8th inning. Director Kang also said, “I hope this incident will not be interpreted too greatly. It is true that Park Kun-woo complained of discomfort here and there while playing last week.” He did not deny that he had an influence.
There is also a part where the team that has not been doing well lately wants to be ‘fantastic’. With this decision, NC was unable to use the best hitter in the team for 10 days. In fact, the first half is out. Nevertheless, the part of seeking the consent of NC members to bring the best hitter in the team without injury to the first team is significant. Coach Kang, who made the final decision, is also well-known in the baseball world for his strong-willed style when it comes to actions that go against the rules.
Coach Kang said, “I thought this point was the most important juncture this season. I thought the last 15 games in the first half would be an important point in determining where our team would be at the end of the season.” It’s not for me to judge. The coaches of Team C (2nd team) will tell the story while watching the player (Park Kun-woo)’s performance and game, and it’s up to us to listen to what our team’s players think and make a decision.”
Even if you take the immediate power loss, it can be seen as a decision made for this season, and furthermore, for the future of NC and Park Gun-woo. Ahead of the 2022 season, Park Kun-woo and NC, who joined after signing a 6-year, 10 billion won FA contract, have many more days to be together in the future.
Like the proverbial saying that the ground hardens after rain, NC hopes that the 1st-team eradication for this 10-day period will serve as an opportunity to become a ‘one team’. Coach Kang said, “As a coach, it is absolutely not the level of trying to tame the players or discipline the team. I wanted to send a message that we should not deviate from my principles, as we have always done.” There are also friends who play baseball while watching. I hope the players will have time to think and mature on their own.”