“I want Baek-ho to take it easy.”
KT Wiz, coached by Lee Kang-cheol, had a tough schedule at the beginning of the season, falling to last place. The dominoes of injuries to key players fell on KT, and the slump was particularly painful for a team that was considered a favorite to win the title before the season began.
However, they quickly reorganized. The existing domestic starting lineup and Pil Seung-jo held on, and as the main players returned one by one, the team began to climb the standings. They finished the first half with three straight wins, including a three-game sweep of the first half against the Gochuk Kiwoom Heroes on the 11th and 13th. Their record is 37 wins, 41 losses, and 2 ties for seventh place. Only 1.5 games behind the fifth-place Lotte Giants (38 wins and 39 losses).먹튀검증
However, KT players are not satisfied with their current performance. They want to go even higher.
The same is true for big man Park Byung-ho. Except for a brief absence from the first team roster in early May due to a left hamstring strain, Park has been on the first team ever since, batting .267 with 66 hits, seven home runs, 42 RBIs and 26 runs scored in 71 games.
Compared to the first half of last season, Byung-ho Park’s first half of the season didn’t quite live up to expectations. Even with the aftermath of his injury, he didn’t have the home runs he was expecting. He batted .265 in the first half of last season, but surprised everyone with 27 home runs and 70 RBIs.
Park Byung-ho, who we recently met at the All-Star Game in Busan, said, “Personally, my long ball power decreased a lot compared to last year’s performance, and I was very disappointed in that part. If I had done a little more, I would have done better as a team and as an individual…” he regretted.
“However, the players who were injured in the first half of the race were able to make a strong comeback at the end. I think the second half will be a tougher race. I hope we can start the second half thinking about what was good at the end of the first half.”
Park Byung-ho took part in the home run race the day before the All-Star Game. He received a ball from Lee Ji-young, with whom he had played together in Kiwoom, and challenged for the home run title, but lost the title to Chae Eun-sung (Hanwha Eagles), who hit five home runs.
Park Byung-ho said, “Ji-young’s ball was good. In fact, I haven’t hit well in the past when I’ve been in the home run race. But this time, I had a good pace, so I was looking forward to it. It’s a shame that my power dropped a bit at the end,” he laughed.
This season, the standings are as tight as ever. Only 4.5 games separate the fourth-place NC Dinos (39 wins, 38 losses, and one draw) and ninth-place Kiwoom (38 wins, 46 losses, and two draws).
“As with all teams, we need to stay injury-free, which will help us in the second half of the race,” said Park Byung-ho. “I also hope that the players who felt that they played poorly in the first half, including myself, will be able to step up in the second half. I hope it will help us fight for the top spot.”
He also left a message of support for Kang Baek-ho, who had a tough time physically and mentally in the first half of the season. In 52 games this season, Kang hit .273 with 51 doubles, five home runs, 29 RBIs and 27 runs scored. He was placed on the disabled list twice, and despite making a comeback at the end of the first half, he was forced to hang his head after hitting a triple for the second straight year.
Park Byung-ho is waiting for Kang Baek-ho’s performance. Photo by Kim Young-gu
Park Byung-ho said, “There is a feeling that Baek-ho is still struggling. I hope he can relax as soon as possible. I’m waiting for him to find his down play and get comfortable.”