The Korean baseball team, which is participating in the World Baseball Classic (WBC), started adapting to the official ball early on.
Korea will play the first round of the 2023 WBC finals at the Tokyo Dome in Japan in March. About two months left before the competition. The KBO also made a final list of 30 players for the WBC on the 4th. Players who will board the national team 안전놀이터 have been notified of their participation in advance, and players are improving their physical condition faster than usual to prepare for the competition.
Pitchers were also given WBC official balls in advance. From the third week of December, the ball was delivered to the players to be included on the roster. This is to prevent the problem of adapting the official ball, which has been raised in every international competition. Even in the last 2017 tournament, pitchers had a hard time adapting to the official ball. The WBC uses a ball manufactured by Rawlings of the United States as the official ball. The ball is more slippery than the official ball used in the KBO league, and the seams are flat. Because of this, pitchers with sensitive fingertips had a difficult time hunting.
Manager Kim In-sik, who served as the command tower for the 2017 tournament, said, “It is always said that the WBC official ball is slippery. Pitchers have to adapt,” he said. Woo Kyu-min also said in an interview at the time, “It’s okay when I throw a breaking ball, but the ball is big and there are no stitches, so it moves a lot. He felt like he was fighting the ball, not a hitter.”
Every international competition, the issue of adapting the official ball always came to the fore. It’s a small difference, but it can be a big variable. For this reason, players are also practicing pitching with the WBC-approved ball during pitching training. Park Se-woong, who joined the WBC team this time, said, “I am still using the official ball. The stitches are thinner than the KBO official ball. I have to adapt quickly,” he said, expressing his feelings after touching the ball. Kim Won-joong also said, “It is more slippery and the stitches are flat,” and said that he should learn the WBC official ball.
Meanwhile, Korea was placed in Group B along with Australia, Japan, Czech Republic and China in the first round. Korea set a goal of reaching the semifinals or higher. To that end, he is determined to catch the first game against Australia. Coach Lee Kang-cheol also left Korea on the 5th and went to Australia to analyze his strength.