NC Son Ah-seop “No KS win, complex… Year of the Dragon, feels good”
Despite winning the batting title for the first time in his career in the 2023 season, veteran NC Dinos slugger Son Ah-seop, 36, is not satisfied. He has yet to fulfill his dream of winning the Korean Series.
“The biggest complex in my baseball life is that I still don’t have a Korean Series championship ring,” Son said in an interview at NC Park in Changwon after the New Year’s Day ceremony at the Olympic Memorial National Life Center at Masan Sports Complex in Changwon on Monday.
Son, who began his professional career with the Lotte Giants in 2007, has yet to play in the Korean Series.
He played with Lotte until 2021, the last time Lotte reached the Korean Series was in 1999. In 2022, he moved to the NC, where the team finished sixth and did not play fall baseball.
Last year, NC finished fourth in the regular season and advanced to the playoffs through the wild-card round, semi-playoffs, and playoffs with a chance to get even. However, 안전놀이터 NC won the first two games of the playoffs against the KT Wiz, but dropped games 3-5 to fall short of advancing to the Korean Series.
For Son, who wanted to make it to the Korean Series more than anyone, last year was a disappointment.
“I think I’ve had my share of personal glory. I’ve been treated well, I’m playing as a free agent, and I’ve won six Golden Gloves. I also won a gold medal for the national team,” he said, adding, “I feel like I have a complex about not having a Korean Series championship ring.”
“I really want to win the Korean Series, and if I do, I will be able to look back on my baseball career and say that I was perfect,” he said.
For Son, who was born in 1988 and is a Dragon, this year being the Year of the Blue Dragon means a lot. He feels like he will be able to fulfill his dreams.
“When I realized it was the Year of the Dragon, I felt good,” he says, “I felt like things were going to go well, and it had a positive effect on my mentality. It gave me confidence.” “Last year, we didn’t make it to the Korean Series. I started this year with a good feeling, so I want to be the last one to finish this season,” he emphasized.
Son took on the important role of captain for the second year in a row.
At the New Year’s Day ceremony, NC named Son as captain for the 2024 season.
“I feel more responsible than excited,” he said, and vowed to create an environment where young players can play to their heart’s content after reiterating his intention to reach the Korean Series, saying, “I will create an environment where the team can go higher this season.”
“After becoming captain for the first time last year, my direction was to create an atmosphere where younger players can play to their hearts’ content without being watched as much on the field,” Son said. I wanted to create an atmosphere where they can showcase their abilities to the fullest, thinking that there are no seniors or juniors on the field, while strictly enforcing the rules and culture of the team,” he said.
“I think we made some progress last year,” said Son, who added, “I want to continue this season and establish it as a team culture.”
Son, who signed a four-year, $6.4 billion contract with the NC after the 2021 season, had a disappointing first year with the NC in 2022, batting .277 with an OPS of .714.
This season, however, he lived up to expectations,
Batting .339 with five home runs, 65 RBI, 14 doubles, 97 runs scored, and an OPS of .836 in 140 games. He won the batting title for the first time in his career and also claimed the fourth most hits (198) title of his career.
Last year, he traveled to the United States before spring training and trained at the academy run by former major leaguer Kang Jeong-ho in Los Angeles.
Last year, he boarded a plane to the U.S. earlier, but this year, he delayed his trip until after the New Year.
“As the captain, I thought it was important to attend the club’s events, so I postponed my training schedule a bit,” said Son. “This year, I will train with (Kang) Jung-ho and aim to familiarize myself with the hitting mechanics that were good last season.”
He is also looking to improve his long ball power. “I talked to Jung-ho on the phone and told him about my long-hit percentage. I hope to improve my long ball percentage from last season,” he added.
Son, who has been playing as a designated hitter for the entire 2023 season
He expressed his desire to play outfield defense, but he plans to adapt to the team’s situation.
“Defense is not just about being motivated,” he said. “There are a lot of juniors in the outfield who are good at defense,” he said, “and when they’re tired, they need to think about whether it will help the team’s performance. You have to be able to help them when they’re down, when they’re not feeling well,” he said.
“I’m going to make sure that I’m ready to go when there’s an opening in the outfield. I’m going to prepare like I would for a full game in the outfield.”
Next season, the pitch clock (pitching time limit) 안전한 파워볼사이트 and ABS (Automatic Ball-Strike System) will be introduced.
“Players with long batting preparation times will be affected,” said Son. “I don’t know what it’s like because I haven’t tried it myself,” he said, “but there is a part of me that is psychologically uneasy about reducing the preparation time.