How the Heroes helped Lee cross MLB off his bucket list

Lee Jung-hoo, 25, has said goodbye to Korean baseball. He officially joined the San Francisco Giants of Major League Baseball (MLB) at Oracle Park in California, U.S., on Nov. 16 (KST).

Prior to the ceremony, Lee signed a six-year, $113 million (KRW 146.2 billion) contract with the Giants.

The contract also includes an opt-out clause after the 2027 season.

In fact, making it to the major leagues was not on Lee’s bucket list when he was younger, as he kept a diary in elementary school, where he also wrote down bucket lists, including “Become the best shortstop” (shortstop was the position at the time), “Become the best hitter in the pros,” and “Become the MVP (Most Valuable Player)”.

After turning pro, he won the Golden Glove (awarded to the best outfielder) five years in a row, became a batting champion (2021 and 2022), and won the Most Valuable Player award (2022), so his bucket list was pretty much complete.

The only thing missing was a league championship.

He credits his Heroes teammates Park Byung-ho (KT Wiz) and Kim Ha-seong (San Diego Padres) for inspiring him to dream of making it to the big leagues, telling Hankyoreh last winter, “If you went back to when I joined the pro ranks (2017) and asked me, ‘What will you be doing in 2023,’ and I said, ‘Trying to make it to the major leagues,’ everyone would have laughed at me.

But in Heroes, I was able to dream, and my roommate (Kim) Ha-seong always told me that I could do it,” he said, adding, “Watching my brothers (Park Byung-ho and Kim Ha-seong), my eyes were naturally raised and my behavior changed as my goals grew.”

Lee Jung-hoo has always said that if he hadn’t come to Heroes, he would never have grown as much as he has. “

When I was younger, my seniors told me, ‘Play as if the field is a playground.

Seniors like Seo Gun-chang, Kim Min-sung, Park Byung-ho, and Kim Ha-sung took the initiative to teach the younger players more and help them.

I thought it was just me, but they did the same for (Kim) Hye-sung and the other players,” he said, adding, “That’s why the younger players on our team are not afraid to show their abilities.”

For the Heroes, the concept of “built-in” is almost non-existent.

With the frequent turnover of key players through free agency and trades, positions are always open.

This is different from other organizations, where veteran franchise players or FFA players occupy five or six positions and the starting lineup is less flexible. ” 카지노사이트777

At Heroes, I feel that if I play well, I can always be a starter,” said Lee Jung-hoo.

Even if I come up from the second team, I will be used as a starter unconditionally.”

It’s not uncommon for rookies to break into the Heroes lineup.

The Heroes organization doesn’t hesitate to take rookies in the same position if they show potential.

For example, in the 2023 rookie draft, the team selected five catchers (12 total).

Give them unlimited competition, and if they survive the competition, bring them straight to the first team.

Even veteran players with past accomplishments are not exempt from the competition.

This is why Seo Gun-chang, the first player in the league to hit 200 hits, and Park Byung-ho, who was once the home run king, are no longer Heroes.

Heroes only look at the present and the future. So maybe the most “professional” management is the Heroes organization.

Of course, there is no parent group, but this is the environment that produced Kang Jeong-ho (retired), Kim Ha-seong, and Lee Jung-hoo.

Before his final appearance at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on October 10, Lee said this. “Just because I’m playing in the first team doesn’t mean I’m a first-team player.

I hope the juniors don’t play baseball looking at their peers, but look at the player who is doing the best in their current position,” he said, adding this from his seven years of experience in the KBO. “

Don’t take your opportunities for granted.

I want them to think, ‘It’s not my (built-in) spot, it’s something I have to protect,'” he said, something he could only say because he grew up with the Heroes.

The organization has earned quite a bit of money from players moving to the Major Leagues in the past.

In Lee’s case, he will receive a minimum of 16.5 billion won and a maximum of 24.5 billion won, depending on his opt-out situation. But money isn’t everything.

It’s a powerful motivator for internal players, and the next Kim Ha-seong and Lee Jung-hoo will continue to emerge.

There’s nothing like the success of someone you used to play next to.

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