148 km bang in the first real battle! Expectant player of ‘uniform number 61’ highly praised by the national team commander “I am like senior Park Chan-ho…” [Tucson Interview]

As much as I wore number 61, I want to follow half of Chan-ho Park (laughs).”

Number 61 is the history of Korean baseball.

It is a symbol that Park Chan-ho, the ‘Korean Express’, was always with when demonstrating the potential of Korean baseball in the United States, the home of baseball. Even in the WBC (World Baseball Classic), number 61 is filled with memories of joy. 스포츠토토 Park Chan-ho, who left behind his big league fame in his first tournament in 2006 and played an active role as a veteran bullpen agent, was Kim In-sik-ho’s wheat grain to the semifinals.

In 2023, 17 years have passed. Another number 61 pops up. The main character is Kwak Bin (24), the next-generation right-hander from the Doosan Bears. Kwak Bin, who joined Doosan as the first pick in the 2018 rookie draft, recorded 8 wins and 9 losses and an average ERA of 3.78 last year. Although his record did not go unnoticed, he captivated coach Lee Kang-cheol, the head coach of the national team, with his guts and pitches that were uncharacteristic of a young pitcher. Kwak Bin joined the adult national team for the first time in this competition and was given the heavy task of carrying the Taegeuk mark.

Kwak Bin played his first real match on the 20th (Korean time) in a practice match against the KIA Tigers at Kino Veteran Memorial Stadium in Tucson, Arizona, USA. Kwak Bin, the third pitcher of the national team, showed perfect pitching against 5 hitters with no hits, no 4 walks, 2 strikeouts and no runs. The total number of pitches was 18, and the highest fastball speed was 148 km.

Kwak Bin, who met with reporters after the game, said, “It was my first appearance this season, and it was better than I thought, and I was very satisfied.” My body seems to have come up well,” he said. Regarding the changeup that was well used that day, he introduced, “I don’t know about other breaking balls, but the changeup was slippery and fell well.

Yang Eui-ji, a catcher who is a senior on her team and is in sync with the national team, said, “It’s okay to go into the season as it is” after receiving the ball from Kwak Bin during the Australian spring camp. Regarding this, Kwak Bin said with a smile, “I’m the type of person who has a lot of worries, so I think it’d be better to work on it a little more.” Regarding the part that coach Lee Kang-cheol, the head coach of the national team, called himself a ‘representational sense’ from last season, he said, “I didn’t want to look arrogant until (joining the final list of the national team) was confirmed, so I just pretended not to know. I thought I didn’t know until now,” and expressed his gratitude, “I’m just grateful that you acknowledged this.” Regarding his life in the national team, he laughed, saying, “I just want to get close to all the players. Every day is fun because I’m with players who are good at baseball.”

In this national team, Kwak Bin’s uniform number is 61. This is the uniform number that Park Chan-ho, the “Korean Express,” showed off the potential of Korean baseball while playing on the American major league stage. In the 2006 WBC, Park Chan-ho wore number 61 and kept the bullpen of the national team, contributing to the legend of the semifinals. Kwak Bin laughed, “I don’t remember everything exactly, but I do remember what Chan-ho Park threw (at the 2006 WBC)” and “As much as I put on number 61, I want to follow half of Chan-ho Park.” He said, “I’ve never started a season so quickly, and it’s a burden because it’s my first national team. But all of our teams are hoping for good results in this WBC. I want to work hard with one mind and throw hard.”

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