It’s the ‘retirement season’ for the best hitter in Korean baseball…Why was he willing to accept “Second Army Train?” “Choi Jung, Kim Kwang Hyun never plays baseball for the rest of his life.”

SSG Landers outfielder Choo Shin-soo (42) will end his 24-year professional career at the end of this season. He is called the best hitter in the Korean baseball, and expressed his willingness to join the second team during the upcoming season. 메이저 토토사이트

“It’s not because I’m greedy for personal performance that I said I’ll play for another year this year,” Choo told reporters at the Incheon SSG Landers Field on Thursday. “My first goal is to win the championship and I want the SSG to continue to be a strong team. I want to be helpful to the direction and plan of such a team, but if I don’t get the opportunity that someone should receive by extending my career by one year, I don’t think so. I have something to do (in the second division) as I am,” he said.

The story began when a news release on Choo’s retirement season was released on April 14, when he expressed his intention to accompany the Futures team. The announcement was surprising in many ways. When he decided to retire after the end of the 2024 season, he said he would receive 30 million won (30,000 U.S. dollars), the minimum annual salary, while delivering his intention to donate the entire salary.

The most unique thing was that a player with a status enough to announce his retirement season separately mentioned his move to the second team in a press release explaining his plans for the final year. At the time, Choo said through his club, “I thought a lot about it with my family during the off-season. Whenever that happened, I could see SSG, fans’ support, and more than anything else, younger players.

“I felt that I loved baseball and the team so much that I thought about the club and the career path together,” he said. “The club and the new coach (Lee Sung-yong) needed me and respected my opinion. Next year’s performance is important, but I want to contribute to the team by sharing my experiences and thoughts while training with younger players at the Futures team at any time depending on the team’s situation.”

Choo is called the best hitter in Korean baseball. A graduate of Busan Suyeong Elementary School, Busan Middle School and Busan High School, he joined the Seattle Mariners in the U.S. Major League Baseball on an international contract in 2000. Since his big league debut in 2005, he has played for the Cleveland Indians (currently the Cleveland Guardians), the Cincinnati Reds, and the Texas Rangers, posting a total batting average of 0.275 in 1,652 games, 218 homers, 782 RBIs, 961 runs and 157 steals, and a 0.377 slugging percentage of 0.477. When he joined the Texas Rangers, he became the only “Park Chan-ho Kids” who won a big contract for seven years with 130 million dollars and went straight to the Major League after graduating from high school in the early 2000s to have a successful career.

When he returned to the Korean baseball league through the SSG in 2021, he displayed his presence both inside and outside the stadium. Outside the stadium, he cool-headedly pointed out areas needed for the Korean baseball, but displayed his affection for the Korean baseball by making active donations. He showed outstanding performance in baseball regardless of his age in the stadium, leading the SSG to win wire-to-wire title and the Korean Series title in the 2022 regular season. Last year alone, he had a batting average of 0.254 in 112 games, 12 homers, 41 RBIs, 65 runs and six steals, and a slugging percentage of 0.379 with a 0.398 on-base percentage. Choo was 16th in the on-base percentage in the league and third in his team (regular at-bats), making him a player sufficient enough to remain in the first team.

However, Choo had a distant future ahead of him. He thought that if there is a player who can surpass him in capacity and give up the position at any time, the SSG will be reborn as a truly strong team. “Players like Choi Jeong, Kim Kwang-hyun, and Han Yu-seom will never play baseball in their lifetime. Someday, someone has to take their place and compete with each other. In order for the SSG to become a strong team, veteran players need to have some anxiety that they can lose their seats, and give young players hope (that they can advance if they have skills). Only when the bench is strong like that, the team can produce consistent results for a year,” he said.

What is essential in the process is smooth communication between seniors and juniors. This is also why Choo received coach Lee Sung-yong’s offer after much consideration. “I want to become a captain who communicates better. I want to tell the players to tell them if they have a problem. Whether it is true or not, I hope they are not afraid to speak out because of the age difference. What a young player says could be the answer. I hope that the first step in creating a culture where I can go the right way and become a strong team will be me. That way, I will see and follow those who come after me. I don’t know if I will or not, but I want to create a culture where I can tell stories like this without hesitation,” he said.

Of course, as he pursues natural generational change and competition, he does not intend to let go of his starting lineup easily. After spending three weeks in Korea with his family, Choo will return to the U.S. on Wednesday to prepare for the 2024 season. From Thursday, his teammates Park Jong-hoon and Ha Jae-hoon will also visit his home in the U.S. to train together. Choo said, “The coach decides who will play, but I prepare for every game. Of course, the goal is to win. I am not preparing for the season to come in second place. As we are an old team, if our veterans take good care of their bodies, I think we can do well for a year.”

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