Golden Glove pitcher Ahn Woo-jin (24, Kiwoom) was eventually excluded.
On the roster of the national baseball team of the “2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC)” announced by the KBO (Korea Baseball Organization) on the 4th, there was no name of Ahn Woo-jin, who won the 2022 KBO League Golden Glove and won two gold medals (strikeout average ERA).
Korean baseball, which showed its potential by finishing third in the first 2006 WBC competition and runner-up in the second 2009 WBC competition, was humiliated by being eliminated in the first round of the group stage in two consecutive competitions.
Considering the no-medal humiliation at the Tokyo Olympics last year, the performance at the WBC this time is very important. Considering the achievements of the Korean national soccer team, which dramatically advanced to the round of 16 at the 메이저사이트 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar last month, it is even more burdensome.
Even at the time when each of the excellent resources was lacking, it was not possible to select a pitcher for the ‘2nd crown’.
In response to a question related to the background of Ahn Woo-jin’s exclusion, KBO Technical Committee Chairman Cho Bum-hyun answered, “We finally selected 30 entries after considering various factors such as the symbolic meaning of the national team representing the country, responsibility, and pride as well as the player’s skills.”
Although he avoided an immediate answer, it is enough to interpret it as meaning that he cannot select players involved in school violence issues.
This is somewhat of an expected result. An Woo-jin, who was also excluded from the Choi Dong-won Award nomination organized by the Choi Dong-won Memorial Business Association, was not included in the 50-person interest list submitted by the KBO to the World Baseball Classic Inc (WBCI), the WBC organizing committee, in November last year.
If grades were the only criterion, Ahn Woo-jin is the resource that should be selected first.
Ahn Woo-jin received a brilliant report card in the 2022 season of 15 wins and 8 losses with an average ERA of 2.11. With 224 strikeouts, he ranked second on the all-time list for most strikeouts in a season, and even held the title for earned run average. An Woo-jin, who came second in the most wins category, even had a Golden Glove in the pitcher category.
However, he was still not free from the ‘academic violence’ controversy. Ahn Woo-jin was disciplined by the School Violence Countermeasures Autonomous Committee for school violence during Whimoon High School. He was also suspended for three years by the Korea Sports Association and the Korea Baseball Softball Association. The WBC, which the KBO had the right to select, was an opportunity for Ahn Woo-jin to wear the Taegeuk mark, but even this was canceled.
After the 2022 season, Ahn Woo-jin, through his legal representative, revealed his position that “the truth is not covered with the four-letter scarlet letter of school violence.” However, in the end, the negative public opinion could not be turned.
The Japanese media also showed interest in the decision, which had to be conscious of negative public opinion.
Japanese media such as Baseball King, Full Count, and The Digest announced the exclusion of An Woo-jin, saying, “An Woo-jin, considered the best pitcher in the KBO league, was excluded due to the issue of school violence. Ahn Woo-jin, who showed overwhelming results, was not able to wear the national team uniform due to the cold public opinion. He evaluated that it was a decision that put morality first.”
Regarding the fact that there is still time left until the final entry submission, some Japanese media have raised the possibility of Ahn Woo-jin’s dramatic joining, but it is currently unlikely. Technical Committee Chairman Beom-Hyun Cho, who had a somewhat embarrassed expression when asked about the background of the exclusion of Ahn Woo-jin, also said, “This is an entry that I decided after thinking about it for a long time. There is only the possibility of replacing players due to injuries.” It is a word that puts a wedge in the possibility of a dramatic merger expected by some.
On the other hand, the baseball team will play four matches in the group stage of Group B in the first round of the finals, starting with the first game against Australia on March 9 at Tokyo Dome, Japan. During this period, the WBC match between Korea and Japan (on the 10th) will also be held. If you advance to the quarterfinal tournament, you will face the 2nd or 1st place in Group A depending on your ranking. The semi-final championship round will be held in Miami Florida, USA.