I don’t know when my baseball will end at the end of the ninth inning. My goal is to take the 1,005th appearance as a playing coach, guide the players, prepare slowly, and my son, who is an elementary school student, is suddenly interested in baseball

You’ve considered retiring as a player, but you’re starting another year. Next year, he’ll register as a player and coach on the side. When we met at the Hanwha Eagles’ Seosan second team stadium, Jung Woo-ram, 38, said his baseball career has come to the end of the ninth inning. “It would be sad to say that his time is up. He has to finish well. The ninth inning can be long, it can end quickly, or it can end well,” he said.

He also said, “I will fulfill my role as a coach for the remnants and prepare well even though I may not have a chance. I want to show the fans that Jung Woo-ram is doing well as a player and coach.” Now in his 21st season, Jung is finalizing his training at Seosan’s second team stadium.굿모닝토토 도메인

In his 20th year as a professional, he became captain at a tender age. A team that had finished last for three consecutive years needed a leader. As captain and the most veteran player on the team, Jung had a busy 2023 season.

In 52 games, he went 1-0 with a 5.36 ERA, totaling 40⅓ innings pitched. Even if he’s past his prime, that’s a far cry from his reputation. This year, when his second free-agent contract was up, he thought about retiring. Instead, he became the first pitcher in the KBO to appear in 1,000 games, breaking an Asian record. Hitoki Iwase, the closing pitcher for the Junichi Dragons of Nippon Professional Baseball, passed the 1002-game mark.

“There were fans who waited for me on the way to work and cheered me on, and there were fans who said, ‘There are only a few games left, and I can’t come out often, so I’ll come every day to support you,’ or ‘I want to see you next year. These fans motivated me to keep playing baseball.”

“I thought I would play baseball until this year, but it seemed a bit hasty to retire suddenly when I wasn’t ready. Fans sent me a lot of supportive messages, saying they hoped I would be able to watch at least one game next season.”

Player and residual coach. More of a coach. “When you’re starting out as a coach, you can’t neglect coaching players. As a new coach, you have to learn a lot from the older coaches.

Every year, during the inactivity period, he flies with his juniors to the warm south to prepare for the season. This year, of course, a different schedule awaits. In December and January, rookies and players who have been discharged from the military will train at the second team’s stadium in Seosan. They spend two week-long stays with the first and second team coaches.

In February, when the first and second teams leave for overseas training, I stay with the remaining players in Seosan. From March to April, he’ll go through an adjustment period as a coach, and when the weather warms up, he’ll touch the ball.

“I’m going to watch the players and build up a little bit in between,” he said. I’m not going to rush things, I’m going to take my time,” he said.

For next season, he has two goals. The first is to find players in the reserve team who can help the first team, who can sweat and train together. The second is to start for the first team. I want to be a strength to the team once again. Jung Woo-ram ends his career in style and has a scene in his head.

Choi donned the SK uniform as a second-round rookie pick in 2004. I didn’t realize at the time that he would throw so long. In my early years as a pro, I kept going year after year with the desperation that I might have to quit. He thought he was out of shape compared to other pitchers.

“If I just woke up one day and got better, I probably wouldn’t be here. I spent 20 years learning and filling in the gaps to get what I needed, little by little.”

He has two sons. The oldest will be in middle school next year. When he was younger, he didn’t pay much attention to his baseball-playing dad, but the other day he asked, “Dad, do you coach anymore?”

“His friends must have seen the article and told him. I could see the regret on his face. It’s a shame, because if he had been interested earlier, he would have had a lot more fun,” he laughs.

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