In Japan, Ahn Woo-jin (24, Kiwoom)’s elimination from the WBC team drew great attention. Is there a possibility of a dramatic boarding before the final list is submitted?
In fact, the technical committee of the WBC national team came up with the most fundamental solution in relation to Ahn Woo-jin’s selection in the first place, ‘resolving the problem of school violence in the past’. However, with Ahn Woo-jin unable to respond, the last possibility is almost disappearing.
On the 4th, WBC national team coach Lee Kang-cheol and technical committee chairman Cho Bum-hyun held a press conference at the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) and unveiled the list of the final 30 players for the 5th 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) national team to be held in March.
The final 30 players consisted of 15 pitchers (8 righties, 2 sidearms, 5 lefties), 2 catchers, 8 infielders and 5 outfielders. With a total of 30 final players, if there are no breakaway players such as special injuries, the WBC finals will be held as it is in the big picture.
The final roster included Korean players such as Tommy Hyeonsu Edman (St. Louis), Kwanghyeon Kim (SSG), Haseong Kim (San Diego), Jeonghu Lee (Kiwoom), and Jiman Choi (Pittsburgh), as well as top domestic and foreign players playing in the US Major League and KBO League. did.
It is the best card that Korea can pull out at the moment. However, the boarding of Ahn Woo-jin, who was not included in the interest list, was finally canceled as the controversy over school violence resurfaced earlier.
In fact, the result was somewhat expected in Korea. Previously, An Woo-jin was not included in the 50 members of the 2023 WBC Federation Interest List submitted by the KBO to the World Baseball Classic Inc (WBCI), the WBC organizing committee. The KBO and the technical committee have announced that they will deduce the preliminary list and the final list based on these 50 names.
However, the shock received by Japan, the ‘old enemy’, who faced Korea in the group stage for the first time since the 2006 WBC Invitational Tournament was great.
Last season, An Woo-jin was the best pitcher in Korea. He recorded an average ERA of 2.11 / 196 innings / 224 strikeouts in 30 games with 15 wins and 8 losses, and ranked first in three categories: ERA – strikeouts – innings. He was reborn as an ace representing the league with a truly overwhelming appearance. Ahn Woo-jin also played a reverse fight in PS and led Kiwoom to the runner-up in the Korean Series. Following this momentum, he won the Golden Glove in the pitching category, given to the best pitcher in the league, beating out prominent candidates.
That’s why multiple Japanese media outlets, such as Japan’s Tokyo Sports, Baseball King, Full Count, and The Digest, dealt with the news of An Woo-jin’s exclusion with great importance. The Digest said, “Ahn Woo-jin, who is considered the best pitcher in the KBO league in the final list of 30 players, caused a considerable stir when he was unable to be selected due to problems with school violence in the past.” However, due to the cold public opinion in Korea due to the assault scandal, I was unable to wear the national team uniform.”
At the same time, the media said, “I wonder what the exclusion of An Woo-jin from the national team, which is evaluated as Korea’s Jacob deGrom (Texas), will mean. It was a decision that the cold public opinion and morality in Korea took precedence.
Other media also shed light on Ahn Woo-jin’s performance in the KBO League, expressing surprise that a pitcher who could advance to the major leagues in the future was not selected.
In fact, it’s not just the reaction of the media. The head of Japan’s national baseball team also showed a wary attitude towards Ahn Woo-jin early on. Previously, at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) media day held in San Diego, California, USA on December 7 last year (Korean time), Japanese coach Hideki Kuriyama showed his wariness against Korea in the first round and reported the situation of An Woo-jin to Korean reporters. I also asked
At the time, coach Kuriyama was asked by MK Sports’ correspondent, “Is there any player to watch with special vigilance?”, the names of major league players such as Kim Ha-seong (San Diego) and Choi Ji-man (Pittsburgh), Kim Kwang-hyeon (SSG), and Ahn Woo-jin (Kiwoom). took out Coach Kuriyama, who knew about An Woo-jin’s school violence issue, showed extraordinary interest by asking the reporter whether An Woo-jin would participate in the national team.
Prior to that, in an interview with Korean reporters after watching the playoffs between Kiwoom Heroes and LG Twins in Korea during his visit to Korea last year, coach Kuriyama said, “I want an excellent player (Ahn Woo-jin) to play an active role in the world, but if he does not participate in the WBC, we will The chances of winning increase,” he said, revealing an honest stance on An Woo-jin’s controversy.
Could it happen that Japan is also wary and surprised, Ahn Woo-jin dramatically wears the Taegeuk mark? Prior to the submission of the final list on the 7th of the following month (Eastern time in the US), the organizing committee gave its discretion to select players based on its own list. This means procedurally it is possible.
However, the actual chances are slim. At a press conference on the 4th, when asked about the background of not selecting An Woo-jin, Technical Committee Chairman Cho Beom-hyun could not hide his puzzled expression for a while.
However, Chairman Cho briefly explained that “the selection criteria for the players were finalized after considering various factors such as the meaning of the national team representing the country, responsibility, and pride, along with the player’s skills.”
Although the specific incident was not mentioned, it was revealed that the past performance of An Woo-jin, who lost his national team qualification through the Korea Sports Association and the Korea Baseball Softball Association, was the criterion for exclusion.
He also expressed a negative position on the possibility of joining additional players. Chairman Cho said, “Since the 30-member list has been announced, I don’t know if there will be a situation where one or two more people, such as Choi Ji-man (who has not yet decided to join), will be able to move, but I think they will move on this list.” I don’t think there will be any (big change) because we selected 30 people after long consideration.”
As such, there is a background in which the coaching staff of the WBC national team and the technical committee have a clear position. In fact, the technical committee was also deeply concerned about the selection of An Woo-jin long before the preliminary list was announced last year.
Even before the announcement of the 50 interest list last year, Chairman Cho once revealed his internal position regarding the selection of An Woo-jin to MK Sports. At the time, Chairman Cho said, “There were problems in the past Asian Games, and this WBC is the same. We are working hard to select a national team player that is as fair as possible and everyone can nod their heads,” he said after conveying the hardships within the technology committee at the time, “Everyone will recognize An Woo-jin’s skills. It’s not a matter of skill. In the end, solving the problem comes first.”
Ahn Woo-jin received a 3-year suspension from the national team of the Korea Baseball Softball Association for school violence while in high school. Afterwards, he appealed to the Korea Sports Association and the Korea Baseball Softball Association, but as they were not accepted, he was permanently disqualified from the national team.
Then, after the end of last year’s season, three out of four people mentioned as victims issued a statement defending An Woo-jin, and An Woo-jin also released a statement, causing a change in public opinion 스포츠토토. However, inside the baseball world, a serious problem arose that Ahn Woo-jin was doing secondary harm to the victim regardless of the fact that he had changed compared to the past. In the end, most of the baseball awards hosted by baseball players and the media were excluded, and even the internal power was lost.
The national team’s coaching staff and technical committee, which had left open the possibility of being selected if the issue of school violence in the past was resolved, eventually had no choice but to give up Ahn Woo-jin. Even before that, there was considerable public opinion opposing the selection of Ahn Woo-jin, centered on those who valued the value of ‘the weight of the national team’ and ‘harmony’. It was based on the principle that the selection of the national team should be different from the past.
In the end, the issue of Ahn Woo-jin’s selection became more difficult to overturn because it was a decision that put the principles of fairness and common sense first. At the same time, the future Korean baseball team reaffirmed the direction that morality appropriate to the weight of the Taegeuk mark is also important. In other words, the value was chosen rather than the direction of optimizing the power of the national team. For that reason, even if there is a situation in which the entry is changed due to an injured player later, there is little chance of getting on the national team at present unless there is a dramatic reconciliation or forgiveness between Ahn Woo-jin and the victim.