In 17 and 23, the unchanging ‘Tigers number 4 hitter’… Choi Hyeong-woo “I do not retire in advance.”
In 2017 he returned to his hometown. Choi Hyung-woo, wearing a KIA Tigers uniform, was like the most delicious cherry on top of the ‘Win Now’ cake at the time. KIA, who reached the peak with the recruitment of Choi Hyung-woo, achieved a combined victory in the ‘V11’ that year with an overwhelming team batting line. It would have been impossible without Choi Hyeong-woo, the ‘4th hitter’ who achieved a batting average of 0.342 / 26 homers / 120 RBIs that year.
After the moment of glory, KIA went through ups and downs. As the winning members left the team one by one, the glorious moment of 2017 began to turn into a faded past. In 2023, six years after that, there is still an unchanging ‘immutable’ existence. This is also Choi Hyeong-woo, the Tigers’ ‘4th hitter’. With the team in crisis at the beginning of this season, Hyung-Woo Choi returned to bat as the 4th hitter and is in charge of the Tigers’ solution.
After becoming the oldest batting average king in the 2020 season, he has been somewhat stagnant for two years, but Choi Hyung-woo is again proving why ‘batter Choi Hyung-woo’ is a ‘KBO League living legend’ this season. Choi Hyung-woo played in 18 games this season and recorded a batting average of 0.328 / 20 hits / 3 homers / 11 RBI / on-base percentage of 0.423 / slugging percentage of 0.557. Above all, since this is the season when his second free agency contract ends, Choi Hyung-woo wants to be recognized for his true value again with the goal of extending his active career. MK Sports directly heard Choi Hyung-woo’s mindset in Gwangju, saying, “I do not have an early retirement.”
The hero who saved the team from crisis at the beginning of the season was Choi Hyeong-woo. He seems to feel a lot of responsibility.
To be honest, my heart is not that heavy. It is because the mind is empty. Now I don’t think I’m the center of the team. It is the mindset that it doesn’t matter if you go into the 6th batting order from 2 years ago, regardless of whether you did well or not. Now is the time for other juniors to become the center of the team. I am playing baseball with the feeling of being supported from behind.
According to coach Kim Jong-guk, it was the feeling that his swing speed has recently increased.
But at my age now, no matter what I do, I wonder how fast my swing speed will be (laughs). Last year, as the batting numbers dropped a lot, I went through many trials and errors. This season, the batting condition itself is fine. Also, the slump doesn’t come for long. So, when I turn the bat with confidence, I think my swing speed seems fast and it seems like I have more confidence.
Like in 2017, in 2023, six years later, he is in charge of batting fourth for the Tigers. I wonder how you feel.
well. As a team, isn’t it true that it’s not a very good situation for an old guy like me to be the number 4 hitter (laughs). It’s not a good feeling because other juniors can’t come up. In fact, personally, it doesn’t really matter whether I’m in the 4th batting order or starting from the bench. I don’t care about the word ‘hit number 4’ anymore.
Still, the new record for personal doubles (468), which he recently achieved, seemed different.
Wasn’t it always said that I was a mid- and long-distance hitter? He’s hard to beat home runs, but he takes pride in hitting doubles. Having accumulated so many doubles, I personally felt like I was punching through. I still have a record of 1,500 RBIs, but I am not very conscious. I think it’s a record that can be broken someday if I don’t get sick and go to the game steadily.
Since the attachment to the RBI record has been great since before, the achievement of the possible RBI record of 1,500 in the future will also have a great significance
. . Perhaps the RBI record is the most approachable. If I achieve 1,500 RBIs, I think it would be a great honor and blessing in my baseball life.
Looking back on Hyungwoo Choi’s baseball life, what was the turning point as a player?
it’s an army After serving in the military, baseball began to work out as he prepared harder in his own way. Even when he hit his first home run after serving in the army, he went out twice as a pinch hitter in the chance to get the base loaded, but he failed to hit both. But he didn’t blame himself much or anything like that. He thought that the opportunity would come again someday, and if it did not work, he thought of going to the 2nd district. Apparently, his timid personality changed a lot after serving in the army.
The juniors will also need a turning point like that.
Actually, I was in the military, but I don’t think the turning point of baseball players has been decided. Depending on the player, you never know when that turning point will come. So always prepare hard, think and prepare. That turning point can come without your knowledge and change your life like mine without even knowing it. Now may be the turning point, so you should always be prepared.
What is the driving force that keeps veteran Choi Hyeong-woo enduring now?
First of all, the support of my family, including my children, is a great driving force. That’s how it is, and there’s something so fun about going to the baseball field. In our team, even younger siblings with a big age gap, they play around casually and have fun. That’s why I don’t want to leave the baseball field yet, and I have a strong desire to play with the kids more (laughs).
The son also knows a little bit of baseball and it seems like his father likes to play it.
In fact, he is not as good as his son knows baseball. If I just leave, he tells me to hit a home run, but he doesn’t even know what a home run is (laughs). I just tell him to hit a home run because he looks excited when he high-fives the bases. I still don’t know what kind of person my dad is and what makes him happy when he hits a home run. It would be nice to play until I know that, but I don’t know what the future will be like.
Recently, Kang-Min Kim (SSG Landers) mentioned the possibility of retirement and became a hot topic. He seems to be inevitably troubled as he gets older.
I’ve been feeling it every year and every day since 2 years ago. The movement of the body, swinging, and seeing the ball as a whole are very different from before. I think about retiring every day, but I want to play baseball until I can. I have no pre-announced retirement. What comes out doesn’t matter. If the club needs me, I will continue to play baseball.메이저사이트
It is the final season of the FA contract, so it seems that the worries will deepen.
I put that down. Whatever the outcome is, I will accept it. Even if I did well, if the club says it’s this far, I’ll quit cleanly, and even if I did it ambiguously, if the club says it’s necessary, I can continue playing.
Wouldn’t you like to dream of winning the final championship with your juniors again like you did six years ago?
Of course, I have a desire to win. But don’t all veterans bring up the story of winning every interview? I tend not to say such things because I am bored, but I want to win one more championship at the end. Of course, that’s not as easy as it sounds. Rather than talking about winning, I hope the team will consistently rise to the top and have postseason experiences with juniors more often. As each such experience accumulates, it becomes a great asset to the juniors and the team they lead. If you do, won’t good days come later? I wish I could be there on that fine day.