Right-handed pitcher Ju Kwon (28, KT Wiz) will represent China at the World Baseball Classic (WBC), which will be held in March. He, who is digesting the club’s spring camp in Arizona, USA, said in an interview with this magazine, “At first, I said I would not go (to China), but later I decided again.”
The history of sovereignty is unique. Born in 1995 in Jilin Province, China, he spent his childhood in China. He is a Korean-Chinese who came to Korea in December 2005 and has since been naturalized. He went through Cheongju Middle School and Cheongju High School and grew into a right-handed pitching prospect, and in 2015, he wore a KT uniform as a priority nomination. Joo-kwon has already obtained Korean nationality, but according to the rules of the tournament, he can participate in the WBC as a Chinese representative. Since he had already participated in a tournament with the Chinese national team once in 2017, the scene of ‘2 consecutive appearances’ is not an unfamiliar scene, but he also had his own worries. 메이저놀이터
It was in October of last year when the postseason (PS) was in full swing that Ju Kwon was contacted by the China Baseball Association. The sovereign’s first answer, considering various circumstances, was refusal. He said, “(After the 2023 season) I wanted to prepare a little more for the season because I am also a free agent (FA).” Ju Kwon, who debuted in 2015, will be eligible for free agency after this season. More than any other year, he has no choice but to care about his season performance. If you participate in the WBC, which is held before the opening of professional baseball, it can be difficult. Moreover, he even had the experience of suffering from malicious comments after playing the WBC as the Chinese representative in 2017.
It was not a situation where I would take a considerable risk and enter the tournament, but I changed my mind. Ju Kwon said, “(The China Baseball Association) asked if we would do an exhibition game at that time. After thinking deeply again, we said we would participate.” The desire to face strong hitters in the WBC, where active big leaguers are all out, also played a big role. Ju Kwon, who ranks first in the 2020 KBO League hold (31), is a key resource for the Chinese national team.
Sovereignty is in charge of the ‘bullpen’ in this WBC. He said, “(Which position is better) They asked me about starting, middle, and finishing. I’ve been in the middle so far, but I thought there would be problems with the season if I threw it as a starter, so I said I’d throw it in the middle.” The association said they wouldn’t do large groups,” he explained the circumstances. China belongs to Group B in the first round of the WBC and faces South Korea, Japan, Australia and the Czech Republic. Sovereignty has been agreed not to participate in the Korean War. Instead, there is a high possibility of starting against Japan, which is considered the strongest in Group B. Joo-kwon, who said, “I want to play against Shohei Ohtani (LA Angels),” plans to go to Tokyo, Japan on February 28 or March 1, and then participate in the training of the Chinese national team in Kagoshima, Japan.
He leaves his team for a while to compete in the WBC, but the thing in his head is KT. Joo-kwon said, “I don’t think I was lucky last season. When I asked the data part, they said there was no problem with the ball (pitch).” The focus is on playing the season rather than preparing for the tournament. It’s the same as always,” he said.