‘Experience’ is the key, not ‘Chinese representative’… Participation in Sovereign WBC, KT did well
In the World Baseball Classic (WBC) to be held in March, KT’s key bullpen sovereignty (28) was selected as the Chinese national team. He is the fifth player to compete in the WBC, following Byung-ho Park, Baek-ho Kang, Young-pyo Ko, and So-jun Soh. The WBC is a stage where it can compete with the world’s best players, which is good news for KT considering Ju Kwon’s experience and growth.
However, when Sovereignty first received the offer, he had no choice but to hesitate. It is because he participated in the 2017 WBC as a member of the Chinese national team and was criticized and beaten by some netizens. Is that why? Ju Kwon received a request from the China Baseball Association (CBA) to participate in the 2023 WBC in October of last year, but he politely declined. The CBA’s earnest request continued, and after much thought, I finally gathered up my courage and decided to participate.
Na-Hyun Na, head of KT, said, “(Sovereignty) did a test at first. He seems to have thought of several situations. Then he continued to receive requests from the Chinese association, so it seems that he made a decision after discussing with his parents and thinking carefully.”
When the news of Ju Kwon’s participation in the WBC Chinese national team became known, there were again voices of criticism among some netizens. As if conscious of this, Sovereignty indicated that it would not pitch in a head-to-head match with Korea. Why should sovereignty be criticized? If so, American national Tommy Edman (28), who wore the Taegeuk mark at the WBC, could also be criticized. Edmund gained recognition in Korea with his Korean mother and Korean middle name ‘Hyeonsu’, and was selected as the first foreigner to the Korean national team at the WBC. But in America, no one criticizes Edman.
For the internationalization of baseball, the WBC permits players to participate in the tournament according to the nationality of their parents or grandparents. Many players already compete in the WBC according to their parents’ or grandparents’ nationality, not their nationality.
The sovereign’s nationality is currently the Republic of Korea. Ju Kwon, who was born in Jilin Province, China, gave up his dual nationality in 2007 when he was 12 years old and became a naturalized Korean citizen. Afterwards, he went through Cheongju Middle School and Cheongju High School, received a priority nomination in 2015, wore a KT uniform, and is active as a key bullpen. In the 2020 season, he won the ‘Hold King’ by posting 31 holds, and contributed to the team’s first integrated championship in the 2021 season. He played in 58 games last season and helped KT advance to the postseason for 3 consecutive years with 3 wins, 3 losses, 1 save and 15 holds with an ERA of 3.91. 토토
Ju Kwon, who is in his late 20s, is still a player with great potential for growth. If you grow based on this WBC world stage experience, it will definitely help KT’s power this season. For this reason, it seems that the club also willingly allowed sovereignty to participate in the WBC. From his point of view, the WBC is a valuable stage where he can face world-class players.
Head coach Na said, “In a meeting with the manager and coaches, he said that he would prepare well so that there would be no disruption to the regular season, and we respect that. It is a good thing as a club,” he said.
Meanwhile, Joo-kwon plans to join the Chinese national team in Japan before the opening of the WBC after digesting all of the KT spring camp schedule starting in February.