“I didn’t take it off on purpose…I just wanted to make a change.”
Lee Jung-hoo (25), who has been the captain of Kiwoom since this year, had the letter ‘C’ on the left chest of his jersey, which stands for Captain. As the only captain in his 20s in the KBO’s 10 teams, the letter “C” stood out to him.
However, Lee removed the ‘C’ from his jersey on March 17 against Doosan in Gocheok. He didn’t quit as captain, but he was so overwhelmed by his batting slump and the team’s poor performance that he thought to himself, “Is this not working?” When he was given a uniform without the letter C, he made a change to cheer himself up. He trimmed his hair to a close-cropped style to cheer himself up.메이저사이트
“I didn’t know what the pressure of being a captain was, but I realized that there was a certain amount of it. When the team was doing well, I didn’t know, but when it wasn’t going well, I kept thinking, ‘I have to step up and do something,'” says Lee. “I also thought about what my older brothers used to say in this situation when I was younger. They would tell us that we have to play every day, and that we have to forget about it quickly and get ready for the next game.”
Kiwoom, last year’s Korean Series runner-up, has yet to rebound after two months of play. The pitching has been solid with a stable starting lineup, but the bats haven’t been clicking with the ninth-best team OPS (.661). Lee Jung-hoo can’t escape blame either. In 49 games through Day 1, Lee is batting just 2-for-67 (52-for-195) with four home runs, 25 RBIs, and a .738 OPS, not exactly living up to his name.
He made a pre-season tweak to his batting form as he announced his intentions to play in the U.S. Major Leagues next year, but it proved to be toxic. In the month of April, he struggled, batting just 2-for-8 in 22 games (19-for-87) with three home runs, 13 RBI, and a .678 OPS. He hadn’t been in a hitting slump this long since his debut in 2017. Coupled with the team’s poor performance, Lee was under extreme stress.
However, he rebounded somewhat in May, going 3-for-5 (32 RBI in 105 at-bats) with one home run, 12 RBI, and a .783 OPS in 26 games. Against Hanwha on the first day of June, he broke the perfect game streak of opposing starter Moon Dong-ju with a defensive shift-breaking single to left in the fourth inning. In the ninth inning, he drew a walk to complete his multi-hit performance.
Lee said, “In May, I had good at-bats that I could understand even if I struck out. I want to think of April as a good experience. It’s the first time I’ve been this bad since my debut, but I think times like that are good for me. I apologize to the fans, I apologize to my teammates, I apologize to my managers and coaches, but I think those moments make me stronger. I think it gives me a different perspective on baseball. I don’t want to think of it as a bad thing. I don’t want to think of it as a bad thing.”