KIA Tigers Yang Hyeon-jong (35) talked about his mindset as a national representative of the World Baseball Classic (WBC).
In an interview before departure at Incheon International Airport on the 30th, Yang Hyeon-jong said, “Every time he is selected for the national team, he is always excited and feels a sense of responsibility. He didn’t know when he was young, but as he gets older, it would be a lie if he said he didn’t feel the pressure of being selected for the national team. He has a sense of pressure, but he also has a sense of responsibility to do well. It’s an honorable position, but these days I feel more pressure. Still, you have to overcome it and show results on the ground. That is our homework,” he said, expressing his feelings as the WBC national representative.
Korea was drawn in Group B (Korea, Japan, Australia, China, Czech Republic) in the first round of the WBC to be held at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan in March. Out of 5 teams, the 2nd place in the group can advance to the quarterfinal tournament. Korea, which was eliminated in the first round in two consecutive tournaments since the 2009 final, aims to pass the first round in this tournament and advance to the quarterfinals.
Yang Hyeon-jong said, “Director Kang-cheol Lee said, ‘I should still take a plane to the United States.’ Our players’ goal is to advance to the semifinals. It will be a very difficult and difficult game, but I will do my best. For the development of Korean baseball, the goal is to show the best on the ground and show a winning game,” he said about the goal of this tournament. 안전놀이터
Unlike other international competitions, Yang Hyeon-jong is picking up his pace faster than usual for the WBC, which is held before the season. Yang Hyeon-jong said, “Gwangju is also on the warm side, so he threw the ball without much difficulty. He is also well on the baseball field with weight training etc, so he has built his body well. Currently, he is doing long toss around 30 to 40m, and he seems to be preparing well according to the national team schedule. Normally, the pace is around the beginning of February. It’s a bit fast, but it’s our job to prepare for the national team. He doesn’t want to make excuses when he’s building his body.”
The WBC uses the official Major League Baseball ball. Yang Hyeon-jong also said about adapting to the official ball, “I felt a little slippery when I touched it after a long time. We have to deal with that too. Will the fans be able to admit the official ball excuse? I have no choice but to adapt by throwing a lot.”
Director Lee Kang-cheol revealed his plan to use veteran pitchers such as Yang Hyeon-jong and Kim Gwang-hyun as relief pitchers. Yang Hyeon-jong, who is familiar with the role of starting pitcher, said, “I also heard about it through the media. There is no great pressure. If I told him to go to the bullpen tomorrow, I wouldn’t be ready, but I heard about it from around December, and the game is over a month away. It is not a burden because you just have to prepare your mind and adjust your body and condition accordingly,” he said confidently that there is no problem with relief appearances.
Yang Hyeon-jong, who said, “The moment I leave the WBC tournament and wear the national team uniform, my mindset changes.” Japan is a very strong team, and the US is a strong team even though they are in a different group. However, baseball does not know what variables will happen. What we might do to the Czech Republic or China. We try to do our best to win game after game. The goal is to advance to the quarterfinals, and I will prepare well so that I can win three times.”