The national team that ushered in the golden age of Korean baseball always had ‘international players’. “Little Cuba” Park Jae-hong (now a commentator for MBC Sports Plus), “Red Tomah” Lee Byung-kyu (head coach of the Samsung Lions), the eternal fixer Lee Seung-yeop of the Doosan Bears, and “Japan Killer” Koo Dae-sung (formerly of the Hanwha Eagles) were all powerhouses in international tournaments, hitting and pitching well against players they had never seen before .Somewhere along the way, the lineage of international players broke down, and South Korean baseball has recently been reduced to a neighborhood drum on the international stage .A string of poor performances at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) have pushed the once world-class team to the fringes of the global scene .South Korea was given a stern warning at the WBC in March this year that if it puts off a generational change, it could slide into irreversible decline .It reaffirmed the sobering reality that a baseball team that still relies on two-hit veterans in their mid-30s is bound to drift adrift in the rapidly changing tides of world baseball. With South Korean baseball’s prolonged slump, many eyes were on this year’s squad, which was labeled the “weakest” Asian Games squad ever assembled. With eligibility limited to players under the age of 25 or in their fourth year of professional baseball, and only three wildcards of any age out of the 24 total roster, many questioned whether the inexperienced prospects from the various professional clubs would be able to shake off the international slump .The team was further weakened by the loss of Korean professional baseball’s leading hitter Lee Jung-hoo (Kiwoom Heroes) and reliable left-handed pitcher Koo Chang-mo (NC Dinos) to injury .Of the nine players who traveled to Hangzhou, only five pitchers and four batters have international experience at the senior level. Pitcher Park Se-woong (Lotte Giants) has appeared at the 2017 Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC), the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and the 2023 WBC, while batsman Kang Baek-ho (KT WIZ) has been capped three times: at the 2019 Premier12, the Tokyo Olympics, and this year’s WBC. Most of them made their national team debut at the Tokyo Olympics and suffered a heartbreaking loss at the 2023 WBC. With the immense pressure of winning the tournament weighing heavily on their shoulders, the Korean team hit a thorn in their side when they were swept 0-4 by Chinese Taipei in the group stage on the second day, but they took care of business in the super rounds, sweeping Japan and China and giving themselves a chance to upset Chinese Taipei in the final .Moon Dong-ju, who avenged the group stage loss with a dazzling six-inning no-hitter, and Park Young-hyun (KT WIZ), whose gutsy, cannonball fastballs locked the back door in all four games of the tournament .Yoon Dong-hee (Lotte Giants), who was the last to board the Ryu Jung-il as a replacement for pitcher Lee Yi-ri (KIA Tigers) and swung the bat with a batting average of .435 (10-for-23), and Kim Joo-won The Japanese national team has traditionally sent unemployed baseball players to the Asian Games. These players are not hobbyists, but professional baseball players who have been playing baseball for a long time and have chosen to play for unemployed teams because they are guaranteed a steady salary .Chinese Taipei selected 17 players from the minor leagues of Major League Baseball and their home league, making it the strongest roster in recent memory as they attempt to win their first gold medal in 17 years since the 2006 Doha Games. China’s recent surge in talent has made them a force to be reckoned with. No team was perfect, but Yoon Dong-hee and Kim Joo-won swung like crazy and Moon Dong-joo and Park Young-hyun threw fearlessly. The light that Korean baseball fans had been hoping for shot into the sky from 온라인카지노 Hangzhou as the girders of the future

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