Choo Shin-soo (41, SSG Landers) recently appeared on a Korean radio broadcast in the Dallas area, USA, and his remarks about the selection of the baseball team for the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) are causing waves.
Choo Shin-soo said that Japan picks up a lot of new faces in every international competition, “How long will Kim Gwang-hyun (SSG) Yang Hyeon-jong (KIA Tigers)? There are a huge number of talented young players,” he insisted on a generational change. He then added that Ahn Woo-jin (Kiwoom Heroes) and others should have been on board.
There is some validity to it. However, the criticism that ‘a generational change was necessary’ is not appropriate. In addition to Kim Gwang-hyeon and Yang Hyeon-jong, the roster of pitchers in their 20s, including Ko Woo-seok, Jung Woo-young, Kim Yun-sik (above LG Twins), Lee Eui-ri (KIA), So Hyeong-jun (KT Wiz), Kwak Bin and Jeong Cheol-won (above Doosan Bears), were on board.
The beast was selected based on skill rather than experience. All three major leaguers (Ha-seong Kim, Tommy Edman, and Ji-man Choi) and seven Golden Glove winners from last year boarded the ship. It is the ‘Best 7’ of the KBO League, excluding foreigners (Jose Pirella) and retired players (Lee Dae-ho). Even with the addition of players in their 20s, they are backups, and the difference between them and the starting team is huge. The justification was sufficient.
It is definitely Ahn Woo-jin who is on the topic. If you look at his skills, he is the ace of the national team. Last year, he won the pitcher’s Golden Glove with a 15-8 record with an ERA of 2.11 and 224 strikeouts. However, due to his history of school violence (school violence) discipline during Whimoon High School, he was not even on the list of interest for this national team.
Choo Shin-soo said of Ahn Woo-jin, “There are so many things I don’t understand. It seems that forgiveness is not easy in Korea,” he pointed out. He also said, “I am not a senior because I was born early and played baseball. You have to take off your feet for the sake of juniors who are in an unreasonable situation. No one is leaving,” he said.
‘Forgiveness’ for Ahn Woo-jin is an issue that neither Choo Shin-soo nor the national team officials can mention. An Woo-jin’s side claimed to have been forgiven by the victims, but it is said that forgiveness and agreement were not made with one of them. When this issue arose, Ahn Woo-jin himself said, “I constantly reflect and atone for it,” but also said, “I couldn’t be a better senior to his juniors, and I couldn’t pay more attention to every little act of admonishment as a senior.” He appeared to evade direct responsibility.
School violence is still a ‘reverse factor’ in Korean society. Recently, the hottest work on OTT Netflix was ‘The Glory’, which deals with school violence. In addition to the high-level depiction of violence, it was praised for its in-depth portrayal of the physical and mental scars left on the victim. The issue of school violence still remains in Korean society and interest is hot. It is not yet time to talk about the national sentiment that ‘forgiveness is not easy’.
Message’ was the same, but ‘Messenger’ is also a problem. The status of ‘professional player’ Choo Shin-soo and ‘national representative’ Choo Shin-soo are slightly different. Choo Shin-soo has been on the adult national team twice so far, and has also enjoyed military service benefits by winning the gold medal at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games.
After that, I couldn’t see Choo Shin-soo anymore in international competitions. During the 2013 WBC, he was absent due to the new team and center fielder position after the trade. During the 2017 WBC, it was revealed that his team, the Texas Rangers, would not allow him due to an injury. He explained that “(the people) do not know the story,” and that the club, concerned about injury, dissuaded him, and felt responsible for the remaining contract.
Choo Shin-soo, who did not participate in the national team, succeeded in signing a super-large free agent (FA) contract worth 130 million dollars for 7 years after 2013. After not participating in 2017, he fulfilled his ‘responsibility’ with 22 home runs in 149 appearances. The national team he left was eliminated in the first round on both occasions. Even if you admit your personal judgment, a question mark follows whether you have the right to criticize the composition of the national team.
Choo Shin-soo himself is not irrelevant to ‘incident/accident’. On May 2, 2011, he was caught driving under the influence (blood alcohol level 0.201%) in the United States, causing controversy. Forgiveness, which was said to be ‘difficult’, was accomplished in two years. In 2013, when he hit 300 on-base and became a free agent, all the media and fans praised him.
Over the past two years, Choo Shin-soo’s direct words have had a positive effect. His one word became a trigger, and the away locker rooms at each stadium, including Jamsil Baseball Stadium, were improved. Lee Dae-ho’s retirement tour, which was noisy, ended with everyone’s festival. This statement is different. The baseball world has nothing to gain, and it has only touched the reverse side.