Once again, the heavens turned a blind eye to his first Korean Series start. Before the game, he said, “If the heavens help me, I’ll win, and if they don’t, I’ll lose,” so it seems like the heavens’ will is especially cold. ‘The man who is curious about the Korean Series’, the so-called ‘Kogungsa’. NC’s Son Ah-seop (35) had to cry in front of the Korean Series again.
NC came from behind to lose 2-3 in the fifth game of the 2023 KBO League Playoffs (best-of-three) at KT Wiz Park in Suwon on Friday, ending its fall baseball challenge this season. NC, which had won six straight games, starting with the wild-card deciding game against Doosan, through the three semifinal games against SSG and the first and second games of the playoffs against KT, lost three games in a row. Prior to this season, NC had only been the third team in history to lose three games in a best-of-five playoff series after winning the first two games and failing to advance to the Korean Series, with the other two being Ssangbangul in 1996 (against Hyundai) and Doosan in 2009 (against SK).
Before the game, Son lamented his juniors’ lack of stamina, saying, “It’s a matter of stamina that my batting cycle is broken. Even though I usually bat as a designated hitter, it’s really hard. I can definitely feel that the bat is heavy,” he said. “I’m like this, but it’s even harder for players who play defense. It’s not a technical problem, it’s a physical problem,” he said, explaining why the NC bats went cold.
“I went to eat beef after the third game, and it was hard to even use chopsticks,” said Son, who explained that playing one postseason game was more exhausting than playing two regular-season doubleheaders. “Mental strength is an old saying. But I’m going to use all my energy today. Even if I have to go to the emergency room after the game, I will use all the energy I have left,” he said.
True to his resolve, Son gave it his all. In Game 5, he went 3-for-4 with one double and one RBI. In the five games of the playoffs, he went 9-for-21 with a .429 batting average, three RBIs, and two runs scored. It was as good a performance as you’ll ever see from an individual player.
But baseball is a team sport, not a solo endeavor, and Son was once again frustrated right at the gates of the Korean Series. His disappointment was even greater this season, as he batted .339 in the regular season and won his first batting title in his 17th year. Son, who looked like he could hit three triples even if he held the bat upside down, struggled to a .277 batting average last season, the first year of his four-year, 6.4 billion won free agent contract with NC. This winter, after working hard and preparing properly, he became a batting champion and returned to his “second prime.
Son is 20th on the all-time list with 1974 career games played. Of the 19 players who have played more games than Son, only Kang Min-ho (Samsung), who has the second-most games played (2233), has never played in the Korean Series. Lee Dae-ho (1972 games), who ranks 21st on the all-time games played list, eventually 토토사이트 retired without ever experiencing the Korean Series. All three players have one thing in common: they started their professional careers with Lotte.
Son is now a veteran with fewer days left to play baseball. Whether or not he can use this loss as inspiration to make another leap forward, Son “Kogungsa” Sohn’s quest for the Korean Series will continue next year.