Choi Won-jun, 26, whose batting came alive in the second half and established himself as the team’s regular leadoff man, actually wasn’t feeling well last week. He had body aches. When you’re playing in such hot weather and you’re not feeling well, you might think about resting.메이저놀이터
It turns out he was heavier than he looked. Choi Won-jun said, “Actually, I had been feeling unwell since Tuesday (Aug. 1). It was so bad that I didn’t even know how I played in Pohang,” he confessed, adding, “When I got sick while playing baseball, I always wanted to take a break.” But Choi insisted on playing. “I made him write an order. I had to go out,” he recalled.
No one forced him to do it, but Choi said he changed his mindset after seeing the mindset of his seniors. Choi Hyung-woo, 40, a veteran and the embodiment of self-care, was the one who changed his mindset. “Even when I was thinking, ‘I don’t think I can do this,’ he had this idea of ‘if it doesn’t break, you have to get out,'” Choi said. “I learned and heard a lot about that, too. Hyung-woo also told me that a lot.”
Choi Hyung-woo is a veteran with 2031 first-team appearances as of July 7. At the age of 40, he is still playing faithfully without any major injuries. He hasn’t had any major injuries, but he’s been playing more designated hitter than defense. He played 132 games last year and hasn’t missed a day on the first team roster this year, appearing in 87 of the team’s 89 games. He rarely talks about being “sick.
It’s nearly impossible for a professional athlete to be 100 percent for every game with the intensity of the schedule almost every day. Some games are really hard on the body. However, it is the starter who has the responsibility to play despite this. Choi Hyung-woo knows this from long experience, and he practices it. He doesn’t just talk about it, so there’s a lot for the younger players to learn. He is a living example of the routine and mindset to prepare for a match.
Choi Hyung-woo, one of the best hitters in the league, is remembered as one of the protagonists of the “10 billion won era” when he signed a four-year contract with Kia for a total of 10 billion won before the 2017 season. He was a successful free agent who helped lead KIA to the Korean Series title in 2017, batting .335 with 96 home runs, 424 RBIs, and an OPS of 0.980 in 561 games over four years, fulfilling the expectations of a staggering 10 billion won.
However, Choi has stayed with KIA for the 2021 season, signing a three-year contract worth up to 4.7 billion won. While his numbers aren’t as good as they were in his prime, Choi is still a master hitter at the age of 40. This year, he is still batting .279 with 12 home runs, 56 RBIs, an OPS of 0.837, and a slugging percentage of 0.341 in 87 games. He’s an unstoppable force.
Na Sung-beom, 34, will take over the baton from Choi Hyung-woo and create a positive team culture for KIA. After signing a six-year, 15 billion won contract with KIA before last year’s season, Na has fulfilled the team’s thirst for a long hitter and fixer.
Na is also known for his strict self-management. He always aims to play in all 144 games and has done so five times, including last year. The secret to his success is his body. Trainers don’t hesitate to say that he has one of the most ideal bodies among Korean players.
He sparked a weight training boom at KIA. It’s natural for juniors to want to learn from a successful senior who signed a “15 billion won contract,” and everyone was impressed by his usual intense workouts. Inspired by this, players began to pay attention to weight training one by one.
The same goes for Kim Do-young (20), the team’s top prospect, who voluntarily joined Na Sung-bum for rehabilitation in the early and middle of this season. Working with Na naturally led her to observe his routine, and she increased the amount of time she spent in the weight room, but now that she’s seeing results, she sticks to it even if no one tells her to.
“When I look in the mirror, I see a difference every day, and now I feel anxious if I don’t do it four times a week,” Kim laughs. It’s clear that good habits are a great foundation for this up-and-comer’s career.
On the pitching side, Yang Hyun-jong is the clear leader. He is also a player who takes care of himself. He has managed to stay injury-free for so long and throw so many pitches in his career. Pitchers ask, learn, and get advice from him about his preparation routine. Even when he’s not pitching, he’s always there for his younger teammates to talk about things. He is the eldest brother that the pitchers trust and follow.
There are two main things you can expect when you spend a lot of money on a veteran player. First, it immediately fills a gap in the team’s lineup. In addition, teams look for character. They want to make sure that the player will be a “good influence” on the younger players. Self-centered players are not popular. Choi Hyung-woo has been an exemplary veteran on and off the field, and KIA is realizing the benefits. His influence will now be picked up by other players and carried into the future.