Choi Ji-hoon, who was selected as a ‘warning target’ in Japan, gained confidence… “I am also on the side of patriotism”
He joined the Korean World Baseball Classic (WBC) national team as a substitute player, but is being watched by the Japanese media. It became a stimulant to make up my mind. Choi Ji-hoon (26, SSG Landers) pledged his performance on the international stage.
Choi Ji-hoon is training at the 2023 Spring Camp, which is being held at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach, Florida, USA on the 11th (Korean time). He is improving his condition to compete in the WBC in March.
Initially, Choi Ji-hoon’s name was not on the list of WBC players. However, when first baseman Choi Ji-hoon failed to participate in the WBC due to opposition from the Pittsburgh Pirates, coach Lee Kang-cheol and the KBO Technical Committee selected Choi Ji-hoon instead. With Park Byeong-ho and Kang Baek-ho (above kt Wiz), Kim Hyun-soo and Park Hae-min were also able to play first base, so Choi Ji-hoon was selected.
The news of Choi Ji-hoon’s promotion to the WBC national team reached his rival, Japan. Then, the Japanese local media also showed their wariness toward Choi Ji-hoon. Tokyo Sports said메이저놀이터, ‘Choi Ji-hoon’s strong patriotism can be a threat to Japan. He is the best young outfielder in the KBO with both offense and defense. He is a player with a hot personality. It has been reported that Choi Ji-hoon, who is full of blood, can make the atmosphere on the bench boil.
Choi Ji-hoon also learned about the evaluation of the Japanese media through the article. He said, “I’m on the patriotic side. It’s good that the article came out. I heard that I was vigilant in Japan, so I gained confidence.”
Previously, while in college, he was selected for the 2018 WBSC (World Baseball Softball Confederation) Under-23 Baseball World Cup national team and played an active part in 9 games with a batting average of 0.333 (12 hits in 36 at-bats) and an OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 0.774. However, in the super round against Japan, he went 0-for-5.
Looking back at the match against Japan at the time, Choi Ji-hoon said, “I think I couldn’t because I tried to do well. It took a lot of energy.” At the same time, he said, “The WBC class itself is a different tournament. I am going to the tournament with a new mindset,” he predicted an active role in the WBC.