‘-10kg’ Baekho Kang, exhausted, ‘Hulhul’

A sharpened jawline, but still plenty of power. Kang Baek-ho 온라인바카라 (23-KT Wiz) is back and healthy.

Kang Baek-ho started as the No. 7 designated hitter against the Samsung Lions at Samsung Lions Park in Daegu on the 21st of this month and hit a game-winning three-run home run to give his team the win.

With runners on second and third in the top of the second inning, Kang took a 136 km/h two-seam fastball from opposing pitcher Lee Jae-ik and arched it over the left-centre field fence. It was Kang’s sixth home run of the season. It was his first home run in two and a half months, since he hit one against the NC Dinos on 7 May.

There was a reason why it took him so long to reactivate the home run gun. In early June, Kang Baek-ho was removed from the first team roster with a cold and took over a month off. The cold was a problem, but it was more mental. He had been criticised for a “ceremonial baserunner” at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March, and was in the news again in May when he allowed a run to score on a loose play. A cold and a psychological breakdown eventually sidelined him for more than a month, forcing him to focus on his recovery.

Kang Baek-ho. Courtesy of KT

When he returned to the field in July, Baek-ho was much more lithe than before. “I lost 10 kilograms of weight (during my recovery),” he said, “and I feel like I’m lighter, my swing speed is faster, and I’m hitting the ball at the right time.”

He also got rid of some of his emotional burdens. Behind him was the support of his fans. When Kang Baek-ho was criticised at the end of May, various fans sent him a series of coffee teas to cheer him up. In the stands of KT’s home stadium, KT Wiz Park in Suwon, a placard reading, “Keep your shoulders up, don’t give up, keep fighting!” was erected.

Recently, he received a special gift. Fans made a bus advert for him on his 29th birthday. “I was really surprised when I saw the bus with the birthday message on it on social media,” he said, adding, “The fans have been so supportive on and off the field. I am truly grateful for their support and vowed to play harder in the second half of the season.”

Kang Baek-ho. Courtesy of KT Wiz

The return of Kang Baek-ho, who is lighter in body and mind, is a big boost for KT. He’ll be able to add weight to the existing batting line-up of Anthony Alford, Byung-ho Park and Sung-woo Jang. With Kang back and determined, it will be interesting to see if KT can create some second-half magic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *