They reunited in ‘Team Korea’… Teachers and students who wrote KBO history dream of a happy ending for the WBC

Lee Kang-cheol (57) and Yang Hyeon-jong (35).

These are two characters that cannot be left out when talking about the history of the KBO League. 스포츠토토 He wrote a brilliant history as a pitcher representing Korea. ‘Legend’ Lee Kang-cheol, who led the Tigers dynasty by winning 10 consecutive wins and breaking through 2,000 innings for 10 consecutive years, transformed into a leader and transformed the KT Wiz, who was called the ‘last in 10,000 years’, into a strong team through Heroes (now Kiwoom) and Doosan Bears. Hyeonjong Yang is a ‘living legend’. He has been reborn as a ‘record man’, leaving splendid records such as 159 wins (3rd), 1788 strikeouts (2nd), and 2133⅓ innings (6th).

The relationship between director Lee and Hyeon-jong Yang goes back to 16 years ago. Director Lee, who was a KIA pitching coach at the time, met Yang Hyeon-jong, a rookie who graduated from Gwangju Dongseong High School. Yang Hyeon-jong, who was an ‘unfinished standby’ that was not refined, was reborn as an ace in Lee’s training. Although coach Lee left KIA as the head coach of the Heroes in 2012, Yang Hyeon-jong has not hidden his special affection for the coach so far.

The master and the disciple work together again in the national team. In the 2017 WBC (World Baseball Classic) and the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games, coach Lee participated as a pitching coach for the national team, and Hyun-jong Yang took on the role of starting left-hander. The 2023 WBC is the second meeting in the national team.

But the weight is quite different.

Coach Lee, who transformed KT into a strong team, was entrusted with the weighty task of being the national team commander. The situation is that the WBC team is hoping to revive the atmosphere of Korean baseball, which has been stagnant amidst a series of sluggish international competitions. As the oldest coach in the KBO League, Lee is burdened with the heavy task of leading the national team.

Yang Hyeon-jong has many views that this WBC will in fact be the last time he joins the national team. He is still one of the leading left-handed pitchers in Korean baseball, but considering he is in his mid-30s, it is unclear whether he will be seen in the next international tournament. Yang Hyeon-jong’s own determination seems extraordinary in that it could be the last stage to put the Taegeuk mark on.

Yang Hyeon-jong was thrilled to see his mentor, whom he met again as a director, not a coach. He said, “When I was a rookie, I stayed with the coach until the end (team training) and exercised. I remember that I trained a lot with the coach in many aspects, including not only pitching, but also defense and weight,” he said. “I came to the national team as a veteran. When I throw the ball) I think of the old days when I see the coach watching from behind me. It feels like I went back to my childhood,” she smiled. Coach Lee joked, “I am also thrilled to come to the national team with ‘great pitcher (nickname Yang Hyeon-jong).’ stable,” he praised.

The WBC is a stage that brought joy and frustration to Korean baseball at the same time. He wrote the history of semifinals in 2006 and runner-up in 2009, but in 2013 and 2017, he suffered a so-called ‘disaster’ and was disgraced by being eliminated in the first round. Coach Lee said, “My goal is to leave Japan (where the first round will be held) and get on a plane to the United States (where the semi-finals will be held)” at the place where he threw the ballot for this tournament. Yang Hyeon-jong also emphasized, “Your mindset changes when you wear the Taegeuk mark. You have to work really hard. You have to feel the weight and pride of the Taegeuk mark. It is a competition representing the country. Let’s do really well, just think of getting good results.” . In this WBC, the teacher and the student are dreaming of a new history of Korean baseball.

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