The opening of the World Baseball Classic (WBC), held for the first time in six years, is approaching in about a month.
The WBC is a tournament organized by the US Major League Baseball and the Players Association. It is the only tournament in which the best players from all over the world, including major leaguers, attend, and in fact has the same status as the ‘Baseball World Cup’.
The WBC, starting with the first tournament in 2006, decided to hold the tournament in odd-numbered years thereafter, and was held every four years, such as 2009, 2013, and 2017. However, in 2021, the competition was not held due to the Corona 19 incident that hit the world, and this year it will resume after 6 years.
Korea, which has the most active professional baseball league along with the United States and Japan, has consistently participated in the WBC. While there were times when good results in the WBC led to popularity in the domestic league, when he suffered an unexpected slump, he was criticized by public opinion.
◇Baseball’s popularity signal, the 1st tournament with a legend in the quarterfinals (3rd place)
The national team of the first WBC tournament was the most spectacular in terms of ‘name value’. Park Chan-ho, Kim Byung-hyun, Kim Seon-woo, Koo Dae-seong, Bong Joong-geun, Seo Jae-eung, and Choi Hee-seop, who were members of the major leagues at the time, all mobilized, and Lee Seung-yeop, who played in Japan, a total of 8 ‘overseas players’.
In addition to Bae Young-soo, Oh Seung-hwan, and Park Jin-man, who led Samsung to win the Korean Series, Lee Byeong-gyu, Lee Jong-beom, Kim Tae-gyun, Kim Dong-ju, Jeong Dae-hyeon, Son Min-han, and Park Jae-hong all participated.
In the first round against Japan, which was trailing 1-2, Korea won with a come-from-behind home run by Lee Seung-yeop in the 8th inning. The scene where Lee Jong-beom roared after hitting 2 RBIs and 3 bases in the 8th inning against Japan in the match against Japan, which we met again, is still considered an unforgettable ‘famous scene’.
Although he swallowed his regret by kneeling against Japan, whom he met again in the semifinals, it was a tournament that properly ignited the baseball fever. At this time, 11 members of the national team, including Kim Tae-gyun, Lee Beom-ho, 슬롯사이트 Oh Seung-hwan, and Bong Joong-geun, received military exemption.
◇Only 5 matches between Korea and Japan, 2 competitions that made the whole nation laugh and cry (runner-up)
Korea, which created excitement with the 1st WBC, continued its momentum in the 2nd competition where many of the gold medalists of the 2008 Beijing Olympics appeared. There were only two foreign players, Choo Shin-soo and Lim Chang-yong, but they showed strong cohesion.
Bong Joong-geun, who emerged as a new Japanese killer, earned the nickname ‘Ichiro Trainer’ through his unique restraining motion. Jung Hyun-wook, who played a big role in the bullpen, was given the title of ‘National Slave’.
In this tournament, in particular, they faced rival Japan only five times. In the first match of the first round, Korea suffered humiliation from a 2-14 cold game loss, but in the first place match, Korea took revenge with a 1-0 victory.
Afterwards, Korea and Japan, who exchanged 1 win and 1 loss in the second round, won side by side in the semi-finals, and the big match of the ‘Korea-Japan final’ was concluded.
Korea was trailing by one run until the end of the game, but Lee Bum-ho hit a dramatic tie with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to take the game into overtime. At that time, the Japanese pitcher who was hit by a tie was Darvish Yu, who also participated in this tournament.
Although he lost in overtime, it was a great game that reminded him of the adage, “Baseball starts with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.”
◇The shocking ‘Taichung Disaster’ (Round 1) Korea on a winning streak Korea, which had
been on a winning streak from the 2006 WBC to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the 2009 WBC, and the 2010 Asian Games, faced a great ordeal at the 2013 WBC. I was worried about the composition.
Samsung Lions, which was the best team in the league at the time, organized the national team around Ryu Joong-il, but the only overseas player was Lee Dae-ho, who played in the Japanese league. Since Choo Shin-soo did not come, there was no big leaguer.
In addition, Park Byeong-ho, who swept the KBO League home run and RBI title in the previous season (2012) and was even awarded the MVP, dropped out of the national team because of Kim Tae-gyun and Lee Dae-ho, and Ryu Hyun-jin, who was about to start his first season in the major leagues, and Kim Gwang-hyun, who was in rehabilitation, were also excluded, and power weakening was unavoidable.
Still, being eliminated in the first round was unexpected. In the first match, Korea lost to the ambush Netherlands 0-5. Afterwards, they defeated Australia and Taiwan in turn, recording 2 wins and 1 loss with Taiwan and the Netherlands, but were eliminated due to goal difference. It is a tournament remembered as the so-called ‘Taichung Disaster’.