KT Kang Baek-ho and NC Park Gun-woo, two “geniuses,” will have a huge impact on the mid-tier game

KT Wiz Kang Baek-ho.

National team hitters Kang Baek-ho (24-KT Wiz) and Park Gun-woo (33-NC Dinos), who took time off for similar but different reasons, will return in the second half of the season. The return of the two “genius hitters” is expected to have a significant impact not only on their respective teams, but also on the overall league standings.

Kang Baek-ho and Park Gun-woo have garnered a lot of attention in the first half of the KBO this season. Both are extremely talented hitters, but unfortunately, the spotlight hasn’t been a pleasant one.

In Kang Baek-ho’s case, it was his poor defense. He started in right field against the LG Twins at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on May 18, and while fielding a hit in the bottom of the fifth inning, he made an “arirang songu” play. After pausing for a moment, he threw the ball toward the infield, but it was high and slow, allowing the runner at first base to score.

Baek-ho Kang, who hit a double at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) a season ago and was thrown out at the plate after his foot slipped off the base during a ceremony, was once again on the chopping block for a ridiculous error.

He played for more than two weeks afterward, but on June 6, he was sent down to the second team. The ostensible reason was that he was suffering from a cold, but it was more likely that he was mentally exhausted from the previous events.

KT head coach Lee Kang-cheol decided to give him some time, and he rested for over a month. He returned in a three-game series against the Kiwoom Heroes at the end of the first half and went into the All-Star break with six at-bats and one hit in one start and two substitute appearances.

Park Gun-woo was removed from the first team on March 2 while fielding in the bottom of the eighth inning against KT and was dismissed from the team the next day. It was soon revealed that the problem was not an injury or a lack of performance, but rather a “work ethic” issue.

NC Dinos Park Gun-woo.

Park requested to be substituted with a lead in the game against KT, which ultimately led to the team’s loss. This wasn’t the first time this had happened, as Park had been sent down to the second team for similar reasons two years earlier with the Doosan Bears.

NC head coach Kang Myung-hwa felt that Park was acting against the “first team” and made a firm decision. He was willing to stick to his principles even while playing difficult games due to a series of injuries.

Then came the All-Star Game on the 15th. Park Gun-woo, who was selected as an outfielder for the Nanum All-Stars, bent at 90 degrees to greet Kang Myung-ho, who was the first base coach, after his first hit.

He also revealed that he had a meeting with Kang at the end of the first half before the game. He didn’t provide any details, but it was clear that the conflict was being mended.

In fact, Park trained with the first team at Changwon NC Park, the club’s home stadium, on the 17th. For now, it seems likely that Park will return to the first team at the start of the second half of the season.

Both KT and NC are in desperate need of Kang Baek-ho and Park Gun-woo. Both players are the mainstays of their respective teams and will be batting in the center of the order.

Kang hit .273 with five home runs and 29 RBIs in 52 games in the first half, while Park hit .286 with seven home runs and 41 RBIs in 69 games. It wasn’t quite as good as expected, but given their struggles, we can expect a rebound in the second half.

KT finished the first half in seventh place with 37 wins, 2 losses and 41 ties, while NC finished in fourth place with 39 wins, 1 loss and 38 ties. Both are hoping for ‘fall baseball’ and are well positioned to do so.

Similarly, Kang Baek-ho and Park Gun-woo took a break due to different controversies. We look forward to seeing the return of these two ‘genius hitters’ 스포츠토토 whose talent is unquestioned.

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