It’s a warm friendship.
KT Wiz and NC Dinos will play Game 1 of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO Postseason Playoffs (best-of-three series) on April 30 at KT Wiz Park in Suwon. KT earned a direct playoff berth by finishing second in the regular season. NC finished the regular season in fourth place before defeating the fifth-place Doosan Bears in the wild card round and the third-place SSG Landers in the semifinals. It is on a four-game winning streak in the postseason.
KT’s bullpen pitcher Park Young-hyun and NC’s starting shortstop Kim Joo-won will also be facing off for the first time in a long time. They are one year ahead of Yoo and are close friends. Kim Joo-won is the older brother and Park Young-hyun is the younger.
Park Young-hyun chose Kim Joo-won as his favorite batter to face before the game against NC. “I will definitely catch him,” he said. In the regular season this year, Young-hyun won the game. He struck out two and allowed one triple. Against Park, Kim is batting .250 (1-for-4).
He watched Kim play in the postseason. “He’s not good,” Young-hyun said with a laugh. “I try not to mention it because he’s always good at defense. “I think it would hurt my pride if I got hit by him,” he said, adding, “I gave up a three-run homer (in the regular season) because I pitched in a bad situation. Whoever wins today (Oct. 30) is the real winner.”
He declared war on Kim Joo-won. “It’s the body,” Park joked, “I’m going to throw a body fastball.” He added, “We haven’t really talked about the postseason. Before today’s game, we decided to have a quick look at the Asian Games members, including my brother, in the center field.”
Despite his casual demeanor, he and Kim are close friends. They often hung out at the All-Star Game and the Hangzhou Asian Games. Park Young-hyun said, “I’m very close to my brother. No one is as close to him as I am,” he said, “He’s a shy person. He doesn’t speak well, so we traveled together.” “Ugh,” he sighed, “I’m so glad we went together. It was full of playfulness.
“Even in the original season, (Park) Young-hyun and I would play with each other, saying, ‘I’ll catch it,’ ‘I’ll hit it,’ and so on. He always predicts how he’s going to throw, but he doesn’t actually do it. “Whenever he talks about the dune, I say, ‘Then I’ll put on my catcher’s gear and go to bat,’” he said. He always throws it to me through clenched teeth,” he laughed.
“If it comes down to the wire today, I’m going to make sure he hits the ball hard. “The postseason is more important than the regular season. It’s really important to do well here.”
As for being called timid, he said, “It’s not that bad. It’s just that Younghyun is too pushy. She’s too demanding,” he said, adding, “I go with her because she has a bright personality. We are best friends.” When asked about the Asian Games team members getting together before games, he said, “Really? I’ve never heard of that before.” “We always meet before every game,” he laughed.
As a pitcher, Park had high praise for Young-hyun. “He’s throwing well now, but I think he’ll be even better in the future. He’s a really good pitcher,” he said, adding, “His fastball and changeup are both very good. He’s tricky to play against.” When asked why he praised Park Young-hyun despite his criticism, he said, “This is the difference between seniors and juniors,” and showed a relaxed smile.
Finally, Kim Joo-won said, “Today, I’ll just look at the fastball and hit it when Young-hyun sees it,” and encouraged him, saying, “Young-hyun, be careful because you’ll get hit if you let your guard down.”안전놀이터
Young-hyun joined KT with the first overall pick last year. He made his debut right away and made it to the postseason. In four games and 4⅔ innings in the semifinals last year, he posted a 3.86 ERA with one hold and one save. At 19 years, 6 days old, he became the youngest postseason save in history. In the regular season this year, he posted a 3-3 record with 32 saves and a 2.75 ERA in 68 games and 75⅓ innings pitched. He became the youngest holder in history.
Kim was drafted by NC with the sixth pick of the second round in 2021. He slowly gained experience and established himself as the starting shortstop. In 127 regular-season games this year, he batted .233 (94-for-403) with 10 home runs and 54 RBIs. He batted .500 (4-for-2) with two RBIs in the wild-card game and .091 (1-for-11) in the semifinals.