“Below Japan”… Korean baseball, you have to admit this to find the answer￼
- on Mar 18, 2023
Loud, raucous noise engulfs meaningful and important signals. American statistician Nate Silver said in ‘Signal and Noise’, “Even if the amount of information increases by 2.5 quiltillion (circa 250) bytes per day, the amount of useful information does not increase that fast. Most of the information is just noise. ” he pointed out.
This is the pattern surrounding Korean baseball at every international competition. The Korean baseball team, which originally competed in the World Baseball Classic (WBC) with the goal of reaching the semifinals, accepted the shocking result of being eliminated in the first round three times in a row. All kinds of experts and media, who had inflated expectations before the competition, turned 180 degrees and poured out sharp criticism. They lament, saying, “Korean baseball cannot go on like this,” “a predicted disaster,” and ridicule it as “a frog in a well” and a “domestic sport.” Legendary baseball players with grievous expressions and angry faces decorate the video thumbnails. Among them, there is a primary color criticism at the level of Internet malicious comments.
How much help will this kind of criticism pouring indiscriminately from all sides really help Korean baseball? Looking back, the situation was similar at the Tokyo Olympics two years ago. Public opinion exploded, baseball players were angry, and the media presented various diagnoses and criticisms. The amount of criticism directed at Korean baseball increased by 250 quintillion bytes per second, but there were few good signals among them. Most of them were emotional accusations made spontaneously by jumping on the bandwagon of public opinion, infinite repetition of outdated tenacity theory and patriotism, or floating talk that was far from the reality of Korean baseball. It’s been a year and a half since I was beaten like that, but this time, Korean baseball once again ‘ disaster’ was repeated. Noise pollution surrounding Korean baseball did not help much to solve the problem.
The easy temptation to find the cause of the ‘disaster’ within the national team must be resolutely rejected. The national team is the result, not the cause. The current baseball team is the sum total of all the problems and absurdities of Korean baseball, and the process of the past. This WBC report card is the result of mobilizing all the resources of Korean baseball to form the best members and exerting all efforts. Therefore, criticizing coach Lee Kang-chul, Kang Baek-ho, or some players who disappeared during the tournament has no meaning other than relieving stress.
To find the cause of the disaster outside the national team
Criticizing the manager’s pitching management or the players’ fighting spirit, concentration, and professionalism in the Korea-Japan match is also empty. There were a total of 22 head-to-head matches between the Korean and Japanese baseball teams composed of professional players. Here, Korea scored 69 points (average 3.14 points) and allowed 109 points (average 4.95 points conceded). In other words, it is not easy for Korean professional hitters to score more than 4 runs against Japanese professional pitchers. The expected win rate, calculated by scoring and conceding, is 0.302, which is equivalent to winning 3 times out of 10 fights. In the meantime, the record of Korea-Japan professional confrontation (9 wins, 13 losses) was the maximum that Korea could play against Japan, which had a level of power.
Korean baseball is not a rival of Japanese baseball. Only when this simple fact is acknowledged is the path to solving the problem open. If we don’t accept this, we will still be throwing the ball at the wrong target, blaming the coach’s mercenary skills, the players’ will and effort, at the next international competition and the next national team.
The WBC Korea-Japan match gave two big shocks to those who watched. If the large score difference (4 to 13) that barely avoided a cold game was the first shock, the ‘redemption’ of Japanese pitchers came as a bigger shock. Japan threw fastballs in the 150km/h range as if each pitcher was competing. Not only active major leaguer Yu Darvish, but also Shota Imana, Yuki Matsui, and Keiji Takahashi, who are short in the 170 cm range, easily recorded speeds of over 150 km/h.
On the other hand, in Korean mounds, most of the pitchers except Gwak Bin and Lee Eui-ri were only in the mid to late 140km/h range. SBS Sportscaster Jung Woo-young, who broadcast the game live on the spot, said on social media (SNS), “The last Korea-Japan match was a game in which I felt the fear felt by Japanese pitchers for the first time in 30 years in the 1st Korea-Japan Super Game in 1991. ” he wrote.
The difference is even more pronounced when looking at the average pitches recorded by the pitchers of the two countries’ national teams in last year’s professional league. In Japan, there are only seven pitchers with an average speed of 150 km/h, including Roki Sasaki (average 158.4 km/h), Shohei Ohtani, Taisei Ohta, Yu Darvish, Yuki Udagawa, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and Hiroto Takahashi.
On the other hand, there are only two pitchers in Korea with an average speed exceeding 150 km/h, Ko Woo-seok (153.5 km/h) and Jung Woo-young (151.5 km/h), and Ko Woo-seok could not play a game due to physical condition problems. Even if the range is expanded to the entire league, not just the national team, there are only 7 people (Ko Woo-seok, An Woo-jin, Cho Yo-han, Jang Jae-young, Moon Dong-ju, Kim Yun-soo, and Kim Min) in the 150km/h range.
The secret to throwing more than 150km by a 170cm athlete
What is the secret to Japanese pitchers, who are of the same East Asian ethnicity and have similar physique requirements, throwing the ball much faster than Koreans? The primary cause is the difference in baseball base. As of 2020, there are 4874 high schools in Japan, of which 3940 schools have baseball teams, accounting for 81%. Among them, there are 150 A-seed schools that often advance to the Koshien finals. There are 150,000 registered players who are active as members of the baseball club across Japan.
On the other hand, there are only 95 high school baseball teams in Korea as of this year, and the number of players is about 3,600, which is incomparably smaller than the number of high school baseball teams in Japan. Since there are much more teams and baseball population than Korea, it is only natural that there are so many good players.
As young leaders who are awake here actively introduce tracking data, biomechanics, and scientific training methods, Japanese baseball has made rapid progress. Conservative baseball players represented by Jang Hoon still emphasize strong training, tenacity, effort, and will, but the atmosphere is not getting a favorable response. The ‘small ball’ or ‘overkill’ that comes to mind when thinking of Japanese baseball is a long time ago. A baseball player familiar with Japanese baseball said, “Just 10 years ago, there was not this much difference between Korean A-class players and Japanese A-class players. I can’t,” he said.
Unlike Japanese baseball, which develops day by day, the level of consciousness of members who lead Korean baseball is still at the level of the Beijing Olympics and the first WBC a decade ago. After the devastating defeat in the Korea-Japan match, reading the quotes of self-proclaimed baseball seniors brings a sigh of relief. They talk about their days going back in time, saying that they lack fighting spirit, have patriotism, think of the team first, and that mental strength is important. One veteran baseball player said, “You have to increase the intensity of training,” “You have to throw more balls,” and “You have to run a lot.” “If you go to Japan, you can see pitchers, both pros and amateurs, going up and down high stairs, hills, and mountains. It was common,” he said out of date.
Regarding this, a professional team trainer said, “Excessive running or Santagi training can lead to serious injuries. It is now common knowledge that long-time ‘overtraining’ does not help improve skills. I know that such training is not practiced in Japan these days. It was a story from 10 years ago.” Everyone speaks bitterly and gives advice for the sake of Korean baseball, but contrary to their intentions, most of them are harmful to Korean baseball. It is no different from loud, meaningless noise.
Some former star baseball players appear in TV and media interviews and cry out that good players are not being produced because of the high school baseball weekend league and the guarantee of student-athletes’ class rights. It is argued that baseball skills improve only when you train and play all day during the week and roll ‘hard’. There is also the sophistry that the ‘right to exercise’ is more important than the athlete’s right to personality and learning.
It is questionable how he will catch up with Japanese baseball while going in the opposite direction from Japan, even if he learns the advantages of Japanese baseball. A baseball official familiar with Japanese baseball said, “In Japan, there are many opportunities to experience and play baseball from a very young age. In elementary, middle and high school, baseball and school work are combined with club activities. Even if you quit baseball later, you will remain a baseball fan for the rest of your life.” said
On the other hand, very few Korean students play baseball directly. An official from a local amateur baseball association said, “Decades ago, there were a lot of children playing baseball in school grounds or parks, but these days there are few spaces for that. It’s hard to be a sports fan.”
“Even if you try to train, there will come a day when there are no players to train.”
Japanese baseball is a system that trains students to become student players, and student players to become baseball players and fans. Thanks to this, good players are constantly coming out and the popularity of baseball remains unchanged. Because he grows up through the same process as ‘normal’ ordinary students while studying and playing baseball, he will do his part as a member of society after retirement.
On the other hand, Korea is still not catching up with Japan despite playing baseball all day long. The gap in baseball skills is widening, and baseball popularity continues to decline. It has already been proven long ago that the past methods do not work.메이저사이트 They mistake a minor problem, such as a wooden bat or an aluminum bat, for the essence. Closing their eyes and ears to the changes in the world, they shout that only baseball should go back to the past.
An official from a university sports organization said, “Hakwon sports are closely related to national education policy and social change. “If you look at some people in the baseball world, they seem to think that no matter how society works, baseball should receive special treatment, or that baseball is above national policy.”
An official in the youth baseball world pointed out, “The real crisis of Korean baseball is from now on.” He said, “There are not a few cases of local youth baseball teams disbanding or integrating with other teams due to the recent decrease in the birth rate. Baseball players who don’t know the reality take into account the amount of training and mental strength, but in the next few years, there will come an era when there will be no players who want to do strong training. Changing the amateur baseball system centered on elite baseball clubs to club activities is an inevitable trend.