“No judgment based on one game” commander’s promise…’desperation’ tinged with nationalism, but can he prove it?
“No judgment based on one game”
The Lotte Giants officially announced on the 22nd that they had signed outfielder Kook Hae-sung. “As a switch-hitter who can create his own offense, we believe he will help us strengthen our outfield depth and utilize our pinch-hitting resources,” the team said.
Kook exercised his rights as a free agent after the 2021 season. However, 10 teams, including his original club, the Doosan Bears, did not show much interest, leaving him in an unintentional “lost and found” situation. However, after being in contact with Lotte recently, he was given a chance to ‘test’ on the 20th of this month, and after passing the test, he was able to put on a professional uniform again.
After Lotte officially announced the signing of Kook Hae-sung, he immediately joined the Gimhae Sangdong Stadium, and the next day (23rd), he started at first base against the Sangsung Baseball Team. The results weren’t pretty, as he went 0-for-4. However, Lotte called up Kook Hae-sung to the first team before the 24th game and added him to the starting lineup at short notice. It had been 767 days since his last start against the LG Twins in Jamsil on April 17, 2021.
Manager Larry Sutton said, “Kook has been good against left-handed pitchers in the past. “I think it’s a great opportunity for him and the team,” said manager Larry Sutton. “We’re not asking him to do anything big, like ‘hit seven home runs.’ I hope he can utilize his strengths in the lineup. We want him to utilize his strengths in the lineup,” he said of the decision to include him in the starting lineup.
It’s all happened in just a few days. For Kook, it was one of the most unforgettable days of his professional career. Speaking to reporters before the game, he said, “I was excited from the moment I was called up to the first team. And when I was training with the first team on the baseball field, I thought, ‘Now I’m back. I think I have nothing to lose. I’m going to do my best and give a good performance.”안전놀이터
“They (the teammates) were so welcoming. They said, ‘You’ve been through a lot, it’s been hard, let’s do well.’ When I was in the independent league, my parents helped me with everything. “I was surprised to be called up to the first team, and I was in the starting lineup. Now that I have the opportunity, I’m going to enjoy it as much as possible and not put any pressure on myself.”
Now that he’s back in the professional ranks, perhaps the hardest part is the competition. After all, it’s all about survival. “I’ve felt (the pressure) so many times,” says Kook Hae-sung. It’s good to play with fight and hold myself back, but if it’s too much, you put too much pressure on yourself. Still, it’s my last chance. I know that if I fail now, I won’t get another chance. I’m going to learn from my failures and try to relax and enjoy myself more.”
Kook Hae-sung started the fifth game of the ‘Nakdong River Derby’ against the NC Dinos at Sajik Stadium on April 24, batting sixth and designated hitter. However, the result was disappointing as he went 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout. Kook Hae-sung started the game in the top of the first inning with two on and two out, hitting a well-struck pitch against NC starter Choi Sung-young, but retired on a fly ball to center field.
Then, in his second at-bat in the bottom of the fourth inning, Kook Hae-sung led off with a single and drew a walk to put his team in scoring position. However, he was unable to capitalize on the opportunity, striking out in his third at-bat of the fifth inning and again in his final at-bat of the eighth inning to end the game.
The outcome of the day was clearly not favorable for Guk Hae-sung. However, his desperation was evident. Throughout the game, Kook was seen in the dugout doing imagery exercises, spinning his bat, and preparing for his at-bat. It wasn’t for anyone to see. Despite the lack of results, Kook will continue to receive opportunities for the foreseeable future.
Even before the game, Sutton said, “If I had a week until Hwang Sung-bin and Jack Rex came back, I would give Hae-sung Kook that much time. I’m not going to judge him based on the result of one game.” It’s up to Kook Hae-sung to prove his worth as the team waits for him.