Park Gun-woo, 33, a starting outfielder for the NC Dinos of the Korean Baseball Organization, used to hang his head every fall.
He experienced seven consecutive postseasons from 2015 to 2021 when he played for the Doosan Bears, but he failed to perform when it mattered.
During that time, Park’s postseason batting average was 0.223 (48 hits in 215 at-bats in 59 games), well below his regular season average of 0.326.
In Game 6 of the 2018 Korean Series, he went 1-for-24 with a .042 batting average.
He broke down in tears in a press conference after hitting a home run in Game 3 of the Korean Series in October 2019, saying he felt sorry for his teammates.
Park, who left the NC uniform as a free agent after the 2021 season, did not play fall baseball for eight years as the NC did not reach the postseason in 2022, but returned to the postseason stage this year as the NC finished fourth.
In his first fall season in an NC uniform, Park has never looked the same.
He pounded out hits in all three semi-playoff (Semi-PO) games against SSG Landers, starting with the wild-card deciding game against the Doosan Bears.
He went 3-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs in Game 2 against SSG on the 23rd.
Then, in the first game of the playoffs (PO) against the KT Wiz at Katie Wiz Park in Suwon on April 31, he hit a home run in his first at-bat.
Starting in right field as the No. 3 hitter, Park launched a two-run home run over the left-field fence with one out against Wiz starter Wes Benjamin.
He took advantage of a cut fastball in the zone and sent it sailing over the left field fence.
It was a 130-meter long ball.
Park completed his first multi-hit game (two or more hits in a game) with an RBI single up the middle in the third inning, and he followed that up with a two-run double over the center field fence in the eighth inning against reliever Park Young-hyun.
Park finished the day 4-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs, and NC won 3-2 over KT.
NC won its second straight PO and is one win away from advancing to the Korean Series.
Park’s performance was all the more meaningful because it came against the odds.
“Park Gun-woo is not feeling well, with body aches and pains,” said NC head coach Kang Myung-hyun before the game, “but he’s taking it upon himself to play because it’s a big game.”
In fact, Park raised eyebrows with his disloyal attitude in July, when the regular season was in full swing.
At the time, Park regularly requested mid-game substitute breaks even though he was not injured, and head coach Kang Myung-hwa, who emphasized “one team,” sentenced him to a two-game suspension.
Park gritted his teeth as he reflected on his attitude, and this year, he is leading the NC’s surge in fall baseball with a 180-degree different look. 슬롯사이트