The revival of the baseball boom, but it’s still a match between Korea and Japan

The will of the players in the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) was determined. With better results than the semifinals, he promised to once again create a ‘baseball boom’ in Korea. As favorable performances such as semifinals in the 1st tournament in 2006, runner-up in the 2nd tournament in 2009, and gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics led to the golden age of professional baseball메이저놀이터, he is determined to revive the popularity of baseball by reviving memories of that time. 

Looking back, what remains as a strong memory in the international competition is the result of the ‘Korea-Japan match’ rather than the final result of the competition. In 2006, by defeating Japan in enemy territory, interest in the national team was greatly raised, and in the second round of the finals, after winning the Korea-Japan match, the memory of putting the national flag on the mound and making baseball fans enthusiastic is strong. 

In the second round of the 2009 tournament, Korea played fierce matches against Japan and advanced to the final. Even though they lost, the final, which went to overtime, is still considered one of the famous matches that are talked about. The KBO league reached its golden age in the 2010s thanks to the two WBC matches against Korea and Japan, where the results were 4 wins and 4 losses. 

The appearance of stars in the Korea-Japan match also led to the popularity of baseball. Lee Jin-young and Lee Jong-beom silenced the Tokyo Dome with fantastic diving catches and laser throws in the final blow, Bae Young-soo, who hit Ichiro, who was outraged by his ’30-year absurd remark’, Bong Joong-geun, who became the formula for victory in the Korea-Japan match, and Lee Beom-ho, the protagonist of the tiebreaker in the finals. Players playing in the KBO League were illuminated and led to baseball popularity.

Now, 13 years later, the lights surrounding the Korea-Japan match are not as bright as before. Expectations are not as high as before, perhaps because of the national team’s recent poor performance, or because of the pressure to deal with major league top stars such as Shohei Ohtani (29, LA Angels) and Yu Darvish (37, San Diego Padres). Passing the first round of the finals is also focusing more on winning against other countries such as Australia than against Japan.

The prospect of the Korea-Japan match reads an atmosphere that is close to giving up. I don’t feel as much interest and fighting spirit as before. I understand the prospect of falling behind in objective power, but in 2006 and 2009, Korea was weaker than Japan. But at that time, the fighting spirit was felt not only by the players but also by the fans watching it. In the match between Korea and Japan, the will to win was strong, saying that even rock, paper, scissors could not be lost, but now it feels like we are losing from the start. This is the gaze toward the baseball team and will be the reality. 

Fighting spirit in the war between Korea and Japan is important. It affects not only the content and outcome of the game, but also the perception of future players and leagues. Even if you look at the recent Premier 12 competition. The following year, after defeating Japan in the semifinals and winning the first championship in 2015, the KBO League opened an era of 8 million spectators, and when it won the runner-up in 2019, only the perception that it lost in the Korea-Japan match remained strong, leading to a sense of skepticism toward the KBO League. The performance against Japan and Korea is absolutely important for the future of the league. 

Fortunately, coach Lee Kang-chul and the players have not forgotten the Korea-Japan match. Coach Lee said at a press conference on the 8th, “You will know the weight of the match against Japan. I am thinking of the match against Korea and Japan.” explained why. Directly mentioning the Korea-Japan match could put a burden on the players, so he avoided mentioning it as much as possible. If they win against Australia, their fighting spirit against Korea and Japan is expected to rise naturally. 

Korea’s 2023 WBC goal is to advance to the semifinals. Even if we don’t necessarily beat Japan, there is a way to advance to the semifinals. However, for the future of the KBO League, I hope to have more fighting spirit against Korea and Japan. If you catch ‘World’s No. 1’ Japan, your grades will naturally follow. Just as they defeated Japan in 2006 and 2009 to advance to the next round as group 1, we look forward to a picture of them defeating Japan with extraordinary fighting spirit and reaping good results in this tournament. 


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