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2023 was the unfortunate year of the ‘genius hitter’ who never s

Is there any player who has faced as strong a wind and rain as Kang Baek-ho this season? I received a lot of criticism from fans and suffered mentally.

He overcame difficulties and enjoyed the honor of winning the Asian Games gold medal amidst stress, but he was unable to play in the most important postseason due to injury, so he was unable to recover his honor and ended 2023.

KT Wiz Kang Baek-ho injured his right side while batting in his own Blue and White match held at KT Wiz Park in Suwon on the 26th. Right internal oblique muscle damage. He was told by the hospital that he would need about three weeks of recovery time. The playoffs will begin next Monday, and Game 7 of the Korean Series will end on November 15th. Even if KT makes it to the Korean Series, it will end before Kang Baek-ho fully recovers. In other words, it has become difficult to see Kang Baek-ho's great hitting in the postseason.

On this day, Kang Baek-ho started as the designated hitter at number 5 for the ‘Ttori’ team composed of main players. Trouble arose during his first at-bat in the bottom of the second inning. Kang Baek-ho, who came out to bat with one out, faced Wes Benjamin, the starter of the ‘Big’ team. Hitting the 5th ball in 2B2S is a foul. However, Kang Baek-ho looked pained and went straight into the dugout. He felt pain in his right side. Because it was a practice game, no pinch hitter came out, and the next hitter, Jo Yong-ho, came out.

Kang Baek-ho went straight to the hospital and underwent an MRI examination, and was diagnosed that his right internal oblique muscle was damaged. KT coach Lee Kang-cheol, who met after the practice game, said, "Kang Baek-ho suffered a torn muscle on his side and cannot participate in the playoffs." With Kang Baek-ho missing, we had to make a new entry, so we went into the manager's office with the coaches with a serious expression. KT is expected to suffer a major blow to its offensive power as it loses a central hitter with accuracy and power.

Kang Baek-ho has been a star in the spotlight since he joined the team. He attracted attention as 'Lee Do-ryu', a pitcher who throws fastballs of 150 km and a hitter who can hit home runs. Kang Baek-ho, who joined KT in 2018 and played only as a hitter, made a brilliant debut by being named Rookie of the Year by playing in 138 games in his first year, hitting .209 with a batting average of 153 hits, 29 home runs, and 84 RBIs. In 2019, he recorded his first .300 batting average with .303 and 6 ERA, and in 2020, he led the team's first fall baseball by posting a batting average of .303, 23 home runs and 89 RBI. In 2021, he played as the number 4 hitter and achieved his first championship with a batting average of .300, 7 ri, 16 home runs, and 102 RBI.

Kang Baek-ho, who has been on a roll, earned 550 million won, the highest annual salary in five years last year, putting him on par with Kiwoom Heroes' Lee Jeong-hoo.

But he faced trials for the first time last year. He suffered two injuries and fell into a slump due to the aftermath, failing to properly show himself as a 'genius hitter'.

Kang Baek-ho, who had a batting average of .244, 6 home runs, and 29 RBIs in 62 games last year, signed for a shocking amount during this year's salary negotiations. It was cut by a whopping 260 million won, or 47.3%. Kang Baek-ho, who signed for 290 million won, made an effort to lose weight over the winter to show off the Kang Baek-ho of the past. The fruits of that effort seemed to come out at the WBC held in March, but they were all in vain due to one mistake.

In his first game, against Australia, he hit a great double and while celebrating, his foot fell off second base and he was tagged out. The chance was wasted, and Korea ended up losing to Australia. And the result was elimination from the preliminary round. It wasn't because of Kang Baek-ho that we lost, but the loss of that chance left us with regret.

Kang Baek-ho, who returned, showed good performance in April with a batting average of .208, 4 home runs, and 13 RBI, but in May, he dropped to .204.7, 1 home run, and 10 RBI. On May 18, Kang Baek-ho suffered psychological shock as he was criticized by fans for conceding a goal due to loose broadcast play while playing as a right fielder in the game against LG in Jamsil.

He said that he suffered from panic disorder after receiving the Asian Games gold medal.

Kang Baek-ho was later left out of the first team and took a break. He returned in July, but after playing in eight games, he had to go back to the second team on July 27 and take a break.

He still competed in the Asian Games. He was criticized by fans for his poor performance in the early stages of the Asian Games and had to be stressed himself. Still, he hit a home run against China and joined Korea in their gold medal march.

Amid numerous hardships this year, the Asian Games gold medal could be said to be Kang Baek-ho's only happiness. Kang Baek-ho, who only played in the final game of the season after returning from the Asian Games, got enough rest to prepare for the playoffs. His performance this season wasn't that good either. He batted .200 with 6.5 runs, 8 home runs, and 39 RBIs in 71 games. It is too big a difference compared to the batting average of .347, 16 home runs, and 102 RBI in 2021.

Still, if he performs well in the playoffs, he will be able to completely make up for his poor performance this season. He was able to reap the beauty of his life.

However, strangely enough, he suffered a side injury in the Cheongbaekjeon match. The thing you need to be most careful about in the Cheongbaekjeon match is injuries. In fact, the reason for the Blue-Baek match is often for the pitcher rather than the hitter. This is because starting pitchers need to increase their pitch count. So, in the case of a batter, it is enough to just think about timing the fast ball.

This happened because Kang Baek-ho gives 100% to everything. It's a very painful injury for him, but it's clear that it's also a very big bad news for KT.

2023 is the year of Kang Baek-ho, who aimed to restore his reputation. He put in so much effort that he ended up with nothing left but the Asian Games gold medal. Will Kang Baek-ho, who finished this difficult season due to injury, be able to smile brightly and regain the glory of a ‘genius hitter’ next year?

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Thursday, December 21, 2023
 
 
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