The Qatar World Cup marked the end of 2022 with enthusiastic cheering. To keep the sports fanaticism rolling, the World Baseball Classic (WBC) has been announced for the start of 2023. Originally supposed to be held in 2021, but postponed due to COVID-19, the 5th WBC will be held in the United States, Japan, and Taiwan from March 8 to 21. 20 countries will participate in this WBC, and 5 countries will be organized into four groups: A, B, C, and D. As it is the first tournament to be held since 2017, we are going to explain some information about the Korean national team so that you can enjoy the WBC more.
The WBC preliminaries are conducted in a league format, and the top two teams in each group advance to the quarterfinals. In the case of Korea, we are assigned to Group B along with Japan, Australia, China, and the Czech Republic, and we will compete at the Tokyo Dome in Japan. The first game is against Australia on March 9, and it is the most important match among Korea’s games. The goal of the Korean national team is to advance to the semifinals. Aside from Japan, which is a strong team, Australia is the most threatening team in Group B, so Korea must win this game to advance to the second round of the finals. Lee Kang-Chul, who was appointed as the head coach of the Korean national team, chose the national team pitchers based on their ground ball-inducing breaking balls, targeting Australian hitters who are weak when it comes to curves and forkballs. The match against Australia, which is receiving a lot of attention, will be a crucial event.
A major feature of the composition of the Korean national team is the combination of young players and veterans. Head coach Lee Kang-Chul said, “When I took this position, the first thought I had was to see young people. Though, since placements have to be given unconditionally, I picked some veterans with skills.” Four young people born in the 2000s, including Kim Yoon-Sik, Won Tae-In, So Hyung-Jun, and Lee Eui-Ri, joined the Korean national team. With the addition of two veterans, Kim Gwang-Hyun and Yang Hyeon-Jong, who are still leading Korean baseball, fans are looking forward to seeing the young players and veterans play together.
Another notable piece is the addition of Tommy Edman from the St. Louis Cardinals. Tommy Edman, whose mother is Korean, is participating in the WBC as part of the Korean national team according to the WBC rules, which allows the nationality to be selected according to the lineage of the parents. Tommy Edman’s skills are not in question as he won the 2021 National League second baseman Golden Glove. It is also worth paying attention to how Tommy Edman, who was selected by the Korean national team, which finally broke the 100% Korean ethnicity rule, will play an active role.
After winning the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and second place at the WBC in 2009, the Korean baseball team has not been able to achieve remarkable results in world competitions. With baseball’s waning popularity, the national team’s performance at the WBC could be a good opportunity to attract new fans. Although the Korean national team is considered an underdog in this WBC, the most important thing is an unbreakable heart. We look forward to watching the Korean national team with pride.
78th Reporter • JOUNG DONG JUN • firstname.lastname@example.org