The juniors will pick up the slack from the seniors.
The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) announced the roster for the Hangzhou Asian Games (AG) 2023 on Monday at the Dogok-dong Baseball Hall in Seoul. Ryu Joong-il, head coach of the Asian Games team, and Cho Gye-hyun, chairman of the Power Enhancement Committee, attended the event and explained the reasons behind the final roster selection.
The 24 athletes and their coaching staff will be traveling with a heavy heart. The Asian Games is a highly motivating event for athletes, as winning a gold medal means military service benefits. However, things have not been going well for the national team lately.
The announcement of the AG roster comes on the heels of a drinking controversy during the recent World Baseball Classic (WBC). Kim Kwang-hyun (SSG Landers), Lee Yong-chan (NC Dinos), and Jeong Chul-won (Doosan Bears) admitted to visiting bars once or twice during the tournament. According to the KBO, contrary to initial allegations, the players did not drink all night or have female servers present.
However, the mere fact that they drank outside of the tournament drew criticism. All three players have been removed from the first-team 스포츠토토 roster, and on July 7, the KBO’s punishment committee handed down sanctions of 40 to 80 hours of community service and a fine of 3 to 5 million won.
Furthermore, South Korea’s baseball team has been underperforming in recent international competitions. The team finished fourth at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and was eliminated in the first round of the WBC after losing to Australia and Japan. In the WBC, which is often referred to as the World Cup of Baseball, Korea has been eliminated in the first round in three consecutive tournaments since 2013.
At the Asian Games, it was all or nothing. After the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games, the controversy over player selection led to a skit in which former national team coach Sun Dong-yeol was called to the National Audit Office. With the exception of South Korea, all participating nations have amateur teams, so winning a gold medal is taken for granted.
Therefore, the AG team will be composed of players aged 25 or younger or in their fourth year of professional competition. Of the 24 players, up to three wildcards (Park Se-woong, Koo Chang-mo, and Choi Won-jun) can be selected regardless of professional experience.
Previously, the KBO League was suspended during the Asian Games. If a team won the gold medal with its elite players, the main players would stay with their teams to fulfill their military service obligations. That’s how the league maintained its popularity.
However, there will be no break during the Hangzhou Asian Games. The KBO and its 10 clubs have decided to send customized players to international tournaments organized by amateurs and operate the regular season as normal, according to the “Mid- and Long-Term Operation Improvement Plan for National Teams” announced earlier. The decision was made in response to the lack of success in international tournaments. The decision was made as a way to strengthen the national team’s competitiveness in the wake of the “frog in the well” story after the Tokyo Olympics. The maximum number of players per team was also limited to three to prevent any controversy. The selection process should also reflect how fans view the selection process, including morality and performance.
All of this is due to the recent poor performance and controversies in international competitions.
Ryu Jung-il-ho was under a lot of pressure before he even started. He has to make a successful transition and perform convincingly, while also staying out of controversy off the field. He has a sense of responsibility and obligation to be different from his older brothers.