November 21, 2022, was the highlight of the 2022 Free Agency (FA) documentary as it was the catcher market. Following the departure of Kang Min-ho (Samsung), Lotte, who had been struggling with catchers for a long time, signed Yoo Kang-nam to a four-year, 8 billion won deal, and LG, who lost Yoo, signed Park Dong-won for a total of 6.5 billion won. In the blink of an eye, two teams, and even KIA, changed their starting catchers.굿모닝토토 도메인
LG initially wanted to keep Yoo Kang-nam, but with Lotte leading the race for him, they realized it would be difficult to do so. From that point on, Park Dong-won was the player they thought of as an alternative. On the one hand, there was an internal decision that “Park Dong-won’s ability is not inferior to Yoo Kang-nam’s”. At the Arizona spring training camp in February, LG’s coaching staff, including head coach Yeom Kyung-yup, expressed their confidence in this area.
Players who move to free agency are often under pressure to “do well” from the start. The pressure was compounded by the fact that his predecessor had also left as a free agent, and he was the one who filled the void. However, when we met Park during spring training, he said he didn’t mind at all. “There’s no pressure at all,” he said, “and the first thing is how to get to know the players quickly.” He went on to say that he had one goal in mind. He then spoke confidently about one goal. Winning the Korean Series.
Park had a high opinion of LG’s team strength. As a catcher for the other team, he hit pitches from LG pitchers and observed the habits of LG hitters. “LG’s pitchers have good pitches and LG’s hitters are strong,” Park said, “I want to win as many games as possible, and I want to win the most regular season games in the history of the club. There are a lot of LG fans. I often get goosebumps when they scream like the ballpark is going to explode. I want to feel that a lot,” he said about winning the Korean Series.
Nine months later. Park finished the regular season on a relatively high note, hitting 20 home runs this season. It was unfortunate that he was unable to continue his home run pace from the first half of the season, but he was able to showcase his strengths as a ‘one-hitter’. He also had a good rapport with the new pitchers. It’s safe to say that Yoo Kang-nam’s absence wasn’t felt much. LG coach Yeom Kyung-yup also commented on the late-season acquisition of Park Dong-won, saying, “I’m very satisfied. There was no problem with the defense at all,” he praised.
Yeom is confident that if he can improve his batting average and hit more home runs next year because he knows what problems he has with his batting. “I’m looking forward to next year more than this year. I think he has enough ability to hit 30 home runs,” he encouraged. “But I have to put next year aside for now. There are as few as four games and as many as seven.
After winning the regular season, LG will play the winner of the playoffs in the Korean Series. After winning the regular season title for the first time in 29 years, LG will challenge for the overall title. In the short game, every player is important, but the importance of the catcher cannot be overlooked. If you make a mistake, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get a chance to make up for it. The importance of analyzing opponents and using your brain cannot be overemphasized. We’ve seen countless examples of how a single pitch can make a team laugh or cry.
Moreover, Park Dong-won has the ability to change the course of a game. In the regular season this year, he was second on the team in home runs behind Austin (23) and third in RBIs behind Austin (95) and Kim Hyun-soo (88). He’s not one of those players that you can just look at his batting average to determine his importance to the team. In the Korean Series, which is expected to be a tightly contested series, a single hit at a crucial moment could be the difference in the series. LG doesn’t have a lot of cannons in their lineup, so they’re relying on Park’s power.
Park wanted to hear the roar of the fans in the stadium. LG deserved that applause in the regular season, and now the fans will be firing on all cylinders for the Korean Series. They just need to play well on the field. It will be interesting to see if Park’s dreams can come true in his first year with the team.