Now is the time to let go and greet a new era.
The gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics marked a milestone in Korean baseball history and was a turning point for baseball to become the most popular sport in Korea. At this time, all the members were reborn as ‘MVP level’ players. Ryu Hyun-jin (Toronto), Kim Gwang-hyeon (SSG), and Yun Seok-min (retired), the so-called ‘Ryu Yun-Kim’, led the league and all challenged themselves to the major league stage. Kim Gwang-hyun and Yoon Seok-min have returned, but Ryu Hyun-jin is still alive in the major leagues. Although he is now rehabilitating from elbow surgery, he has also reigned as a Cy Young-class pitcher. Lee Seung-yeop, Park Jin-man, Lee Dae-ho, Kim Tae-gyun, Lee Jong-wook, Lee Yong-kyu, and Kim Hyeon-soo were exquisitely restructured at the time and showed off a solid structure. 나르샤 토토
They also had a decisive influence on the growth of the future of Korean baseball. As a result of the Beijing Olympics, a large number of young student players entered baseball. The best performance in baseball history played a decisive role in attracting a large number of talented young players. They have grown step by step and are now the players who represent the league. They are the ‘Beijing Kids’. Players born in 1998 or later are often referred to as ‘Beijing Kids’.
A large number of ‘Beijing Kids’ joined the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) national team. Lee Jeong-hoo (25), Ko Woo-seok (25), Kim Hye-seong (24), Kang Baek-ho (24), Jeong Cheol-won (24), Gwak Bin (24), Jung Woo-young (24), Kim Yun-sik (23), Won Tae-in (23), Sohn Joon So-jun (22) ), and Lee Eui-ri (21). All of them have dominated the league and are expected to be among the best prospects in the league. However, we reaffirmed that representing our league is another matter whether we can represent Korea and show competitiveness on the international stage.
In Korea, pitchers in their mid-thirties, such as Kim Gwang-hyun and Yang Hyeon-jong, were still the aces of the national team, and Kim Hyun-soo had to take charge of the batting line as a leader. During the Beijing Olympics, the youngest level athletes have now become the oldest, but they are still being called as indispensable beings. It should be taken into account that there is a large gap in infrastructure and players, but the Korean national team was just as stagnant just looking at the appearance of new faces every time the Japanese national team was called to an international competition.
A large number of ‘Beijing Kids’ were selected, but I didn’t expect much from them. Players who have been frequently called to the national team recently, such as Lee Jung-hoo, Kang Baek-ho, and Ko Woo-seok, had to play a role. Other players were different. I hoped that during the transition period of the generational change, they would be able to grow and achieve results while receiving opportunities. But they didn’t even get a chance. The result, as everyone knows, was devastating.
Kim Gwang-hyeon and Kim Hyeon-soo said they would now return the Taegeuk mark they had worn for about 15 years. Their dedication for 15 years since the Beijing Olympics is hard to describe. Yang Hyeon-jong has also devoted himself to being called by the national team. Yang Hyeon-jong also did not mention it separately, but he was in fact the last national representative.
At a time when the ‘Beijing members’ are now disappearing into history, the ‘Beijing Kids’ must rise as the leaders of the national team. Lee Jung-hoo is demonstrating leadership by shouting “fighting” and expressing anger. Other players have to show that they can do their part on the national team. We must feel the weight of the national team not only with spirit but also with mature skills.
Park Se-woong said, “Young players like me don’t have much experience in international competitions. As a player, I know that throwing in front of a large crowd at the Tokyo Dome is not easy. I think I will be able to pitch well as I gain more experience.” If you lack experience, the Korea Baseball Softball Federation or KBO should provide an opportunity to gain experience. If you lack skills, you should not miss the opportunity to learn more advanced baseball.
The time for the ‘Beijing Kids’ to back up their seniors has passed. Now, we have to show and prove that we can stand at the forefront of Korean baseball and represent Korea. Korean baseball has a long way to go.