Ichiro’s arrogance in 2006 → Ohtani’s humility in 2023… “Korea is a top-level player who can fight the world”

In 2006, the World Baseball Classic (WBC) hosted by the Major League Secretariat was held for the first time. This is the first tournament in which major league players, where the best baseball players gather, compete as representatives of each country. A lot of interest has been gathered.

The biggest concern was the Korea-Japan match, where professional players, including major leaguers, faced each other properly for the first time. At the time, Ichiro, who belonged to Seattle, participated as a member of the Japanese WBC team and said, “I want to win so that my opponent feels that he will not be able to touch Japan for the next 30 years.”

It was the determination to achieve an overwhelming victory in the match against Korea and Taiwan, which faced Japan in the first round. He was told that he would make it impossible for Korea to think of defeating Japan for the next 30 years.

At that time, the Korean WBC team, which included 8 foreign players including Park Chan-ho, Lee Seung-yeop, Bong Joong-geun, Koo Dae-seong, Kim Seon-woo, Seo Jae-eung, Kim Byung-hyun, and Choi Hee-seop, suppressed Ichiro’s arrogant thoughts.

Korea won 3-2 against Japan in the first round, and won 2-1 in the second round as well. However, in the semifinals, Korea met Japan again, and it was a strange match, and the third Korea-Japan match was defeated, and advancing to the final was frustrated.

17 years later, the 5th WBC tournament will be held in March. The final 30 entries for the Korean WBC team, led by coach Lee Kang-cheol, were announced on the 4th. Ha-seong Kim (San Diego), Ji-man Choi (Pittsburgh), Tommy Edman (St. Louis), Jung-hoo Lee (Kiwoom), Kwang-Hyun Kim (SGG), Eui-Ji Yang (Doosan), Byung-Ho Park (KT), Woo-Seok Ko (LG), etc. Players representing the KBO League were selected.

Japan first announced the list of 12 members of the WBC team on the 6th. As for pitchers, Shohei Ohtani (LA Angels), who won the 2021 American League MVP, Yu Darvish (San Diego), pitcher with 95 wins in the major leagues, Yoshinobu Yamamoto (Orix), who won the Triple Crown for two consecutive years, and Rocky Sasaki, who achieved a perfect game last year (Chiba Lotte), Shotai Imana (Yokohama), and Shosei Dogo (Yomiuri) were selected first. 안전놀이터

As for the fielders, Seiya Suzuki (Chicago Cubs), a big leaguer, Munetaka Murakami (Yakult), who set a new record for the most homers by a Japanese player last year (56), Sosuke Genda (Seibu), Shugo Maki (Yokohama), Kensuke Kondo (Softbank), Guy Takuya (Softbank) was selected.

Japanese WBC coach Hideki Kuriyama and Shohei Otani (LA Angels) attended a press conference. Japan is also interested in the Korea-Japan war.

In the 2015 WBSC Premier 12 Invitational Tournament, Ohtani showed off his overwhelming pitch by pitching as a starting pitcher in two games against Korea. In the opening match against Korea, he boasted untouchable pitching with 6 innings, 2 hits, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts and no runs, and in the semifinal match against Korea, 7 innings, 1 hit, 1 walk, 11 strikeouts and no runs.

When a Japanese reporter asked about Korea, Ohtani said, “Korea has many amazing players. There are many great players worldwide, both as pitchers and batters. Isn’t it a country where top-level players can fight against the world in any generation? I think he plays really great baseball.” Unlike Ichiro 17 years ago, it was a compliment full of humility.

On the other hand, Korea performed well in the semifinals of the 1st tournament in 2006 and the runner-up in the 2nd tournament in 2009, but bowed its head in the 3rd tournament in 2013 and the 4th tournament in 2017 by being eliminated in the first round. After passing the first round in 14 years, they challenge to advance to the tournament.

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