“I honestly didn’t think it was going to be this long…” Even the fiery captain didn’t see it coming, as the favorite Wizard Legion falls to last place
“I didn’t think it would be this long.”
KT Wiz captain infielder Park Kyung-soo, 39, batted seventh and started at second base in the team’s sixth game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League against the Kiwoom Heroes at KT Wiz Park in Suwon, South Korea, on April 25, going 3-for-3 with a double and a triple to help the team to a 3-0 sweep. The win was KT’s second consecutive sweep and paved the way for their escape from last place.
It’s been nearly two years since Park had a three-hit game since May 26, 2021, against SSG Landers.
A welcome win. KT has struggled early on this season. Before the start of the season, they were picked by most experts to be a contender or close to winning the Fall League.
But injuries have caught up with them. Injuries to key players, both big and small, have left KT struggling. They went on a long losing streak, losing nine games in a row and six games in a row, and fell to the bottom of the standings.
Even for captain Park Kyung-soo, this moment is unfamiliar. Playing their first fall baseball in 2020, winning their first overall title in 2021, and finishing fourth last season, KT has been far from a lowly team in the 2020s.
“Honestly, I didn’t expect it to be this long,” Park said after the game, “and I don’t want to make excuses, but when our main players went down with injuries and last place became a reality, I had a lot of thoughts. I was also hoping that one or two young players would step up and be the heroes of the game, but it didn’t work out,” he said.
“There was an atmosphere where we had to accept reality. I think the players who came up from Futures had a hard time adjusting to the first team because the existing players were injured,” he added.
The more I thought about it, the more I paid attention to the team atmosphere. Being at the bottom of the table didn’t weigh on the team or the players. As always, we tried to stay upbeat, talk a lot, and create opportunities to rebound. From my position as captain, I rallied the players.
He said, “I thought about what I would do. I thought, ‘I’m the captain, I’m the most experienced, so I have to be bright, so that the existing players can see that. We were on a long losing streak and I thought it would be bad for us to play if it was too dark. We joked a lot and said ‘it’s okay’ to each other. Coach (Lee Kang-chul) and the coaching staff were very understanding. He told us that the most important thing is the team atmosphere.”
Little by little, we’re getting back to the KT we knew. Injured players are returning one by one. With 14 wins, 26 losses and two ties, they are one game behind the ninth-place Hanwha Eagles (15 wins, 25 losses and three ties) and 3.5 games behind the seventh-place Samsung Lions (18 wins, 23 losses), their opponents in the three-game weekend series. If they can sweep Samsung, they can climb into the mid-table in one fell swoop.안전놀이터
“We’re still at the bottom, but it can only get better from here. We have a lot of players coming back, including (Hwang) Jae-kyun and (Bae) Jung-dae. I’m looking forward to the future. We have a little over 100 games left, and we need to make sure we can rebound.”