“I hope there are more Korean players in the major leagues.”
It is not easy for a baseball player who has just graduated from high school to adapt to life in the United States. He is evaluated as a top-class prospect in Korea, and the moment he boards a plane to the United States, he competes with top-class players from all over the world. Because of the language barrier, communication is difficult, and it is not easy to adapt to an unfamiliar culture. Bae Ji-hwan (24, Pittsburgh Pirates) overcame all these adversities and stood on the big league stage.
Bae Ji-hwan, a graduate of Gyeongbuk High School, signed a contract with Pittsburgh in 2018 and moved to the United States. He chose to go straight to the United States without going through the KBO league. It’s a decision he made because he’s a fielder, not a pitcher. Bae Ji-hwan said, “If I were a pitcher, after proving my skills in Korea, I would think, ‘Will my ball work? explained.
“Also, after playing in the KBO league, 메이저사이트 I wondered if I could become a player worth going to the U.S. when I got a posting (private bidding method) or FA qualification. I made up my mind to go when the opportunity arose. My league life has also improved a lot. Because I already knew it, I wasn’t afraid to take on the challenge.”
Learning English while watching the major league stage was also a great help. Since he was in middle school, he never neglected his English studies. Bae Ji-hwan said, “Since middle school, I learned that high school graduates can go to the United States. I’ve been preparing just in case. “he said.
Advancement into the major leagues, which had been prepared for a long time. And Bae Ji-hwan made a bold decision. He made up his mind and moved to the United States, but his life was harder than he thought. It was especially difficult without a companion. He said, “It was definitely difficult. The distance was far and there was no one to talk to. Loneliness was the biggest. Also, since there are matches every day, emotions fluctuate depending on the performance. Also, on days when things weren’t going well, I thought, ‘Life in the US is really difficult.’
Bae Ji-hwan recommends a minor league life to his junior players despite going through all kinds of struggles. If there is a transfer offer, he advises taking on the challenge straight out of high school. He also dreams of helping his juniors by succeeding in the major leagues.
Bae Ji-hwan said, “When I went to the U.S., I had a lot of words and a lot of problems. I finally got out. After experiencing it, it is true that it is difficult to handle at a young age. Still, I recommend it. If I build a great career like Choo Shin-soo, I will have more strength in my words. At that time, I want to help young players to challenge the American stage without fear or prejudice.”
Last year, Jo Won-bin signed a contract with the St. Louis Cardinals, and Um Hyung-chan will head to the Kansas City Royals this year. Bae Ji-hwan said, “When I see my juniors, I want to help. Wonbin is especially affectionate. I want to come to the United States, but because of Corona 19, I haven’t had many opportunities to show it to scouts. They talked to me a lot while contacting me. I hope everyone goes well.”
The reality is that there are not many Korean major leaguers. Compared to Japan, it is significantly less. Bae Ji-hwan wants more players to challenge the major leagues. Bae Ji-hwan raised his voice, saying, “It is difficult for Asian players to feel a sense of belonging. Americans form groups with Americans and Latinos with themselves. There are not many Asian players. I hope Korean players play a lot in the major leagues.”