For Nick Williams, 30, the Hanwha Eagles’ new foreign-born slugger, it was COVID-19 that sparked his interest in the KBO.
In 2020, when the pandemic shut down Major League Baseball in the U.S., the world’s eyes turned to South Korea when the KBO kicked off. ESPN, the largest sports broadcaster in the United States, began broadcasting KBO games across the country.
“I was introduced to Korean baseball during COVID-19 through ESPN and other media outlets,” Williams said on Monday at the Hanwha Life Eagles Park in Daejeon. Aaron Altair (then with the NC Dinos), who played with me a year ago, also watched more closely,” he recalled.
Interest led to expectations. “After that, I was always thinking, ‘What would it be like to play in Korea,'” Williams said. “My agent called me at 6 a.m. (about signing with Hanwha), and I couldn’t go back to sleep. “My agent called me at 6 a.m. (about signing with Hanwha) and I couldn’t go back to sleep,” he said, expressing his excitement at the prospect.
He chose the number ‘3’ for his new uniform. It was the favorite number of his older brother, who passed away in a car accident. “I also wore the number 3 in high school,” Williams said, “so the number 3 means something to me.”
As interested as Williams was in the KBO, Hanwha was also looking for a new foreign hitter.
Brian O’Grady, who opened the season with Hanwha, was released last month after an abysmal .125 batting average and eight RBIs. Forced to start the season without a foreign hitter, Hanwha was only able to sign Williams on the 18th.
When Williams started in left field as the fourth outfielder against the KT Wiz in Daejeon on April 27, Hanwha was able to put a foreign name in the starting lineup 40 days after O’Grady’s last game.
The roar from the fans showed how desperate Hanwha was for a foreign hitter.
Williams went 0-for-3 in his debut, scoring a single on a pushed ball. But every time he stepped to the plate, the crowd welcomed the newcomer with loud cheers. Williams’ diving catch at first base was met with an even louder ovation than usual.
“I’m very excited and happy,” Williams said of his first game. It’s unbelievable to hear the fans cheering and the atmosphere in the stadium,” he said.
Even though he didn’t produce a hit in his first game, he gained confidence. “I didn’t get a hit, and I struck out in my first at-bat, but I think I made a good enough pitch in my next at-bat, so that was a confidence booster,” Williams said.
It didn’t take long for him to back up his words with results.
In the second game of his debut, Williams went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored against KT.
In the second inning, he recorded his first hit in the KBO with a double to left-center off starter Wes Benjamin. In the fifth inning, he hit a two-run double to right-center field to complete his multi-hit game. In the seventh inning, he made an aggressive baserunning play, advancing to second base after a throwing error by the opposing center fielder.
It was a great start, especially considering it was only his second game in the KBO.
Thanks to Williams’ performance, Hanwha defeated KT 6-4 to extend its winning streak to six games. It was their first six-game winning streak in 1371 days.카지노사이트
“I want to say, ‘I love you fans,’ and I love the passionate atmosphere,” Williams said with a smile.
The ‘foreign hitter’ the team has been waiting for is settling into the team with a win.