Rookie of the Year Already Excited
Hanwha Eagles rookie of the year Moon Dong-ju, 21, is already looking forward to March. He’ll get a chance to see if his 160-kilometer fastball will work against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Not in the United States, but in Seoul’s Gocheok Sky Dome.
Moon was named to the 35-man preliminary roster for the Korean National Team (Team Korea) for the MLB World Tour Seoul Series Special Game, announced by the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) on Feb. 2. In addition to Moon, Hanwha has four players on the preliminary roster: pitcher Hwang Jun-seo, infielders Noh Si-hwan and Moon Hyun-bin. This is the second most after the Lotte Giants, who have five.
The KBO said, “The reserve roster is composed of young players who participated in the Hangzhou Asian Games and the APBC (Asian Professional Baseball Championship) last year and gained international experience. It is expected that the young players who will lead the league in the future will accumulate various experiences by playing against outstanding players in Major League Baseball and show their growth in the 2024 KBO League 안전놀이터 and international tournaments such as the Premier 12 in November and the 2026 World Baseball Classic (WBC),” explained the selection criteria.
As part of its efforts to expand baseball’s reach,
Major League Baseball will host the official opening game of the 2024 season on March 20-21 at Gocheok SkyDome in Seoul, South Korea. The National League West’s San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers will travel from the U.S. mainland to play the opening two games of the season in Seoul, both of which will be broadcast live across the U.S. on ESPN.
South Korea will become the 12th country to host a Major League Baseball opener at the Gocheok SkyDome. Seoul is the fifth city in history to host the regular season opener, joining Monterrey, Mexico; Tokyo, Japan; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Sydney, Australia.
There’s more. Prior to the first two games of the regular season, San Diego and the Dodgers will host an exhibition game between the Kiwoom Heroes, LG Twins, and the Korean National Team at Gocheok Sky Dome, where the team will face San Diego on April 17 and the Dodgers on April 18. The future of Korean baseball will gain invaluable experience against the Dodgers and San Diego, two of the most powerful teams in Major League Baseball.
“I’m honored,” said Moon Dong-ju at the spring training camp in Melbourne, Australia on the 2nd.
I feel good. I don’t know when I’ll get to play against such big leaguers. It’s good that the opportunity came sooner than I thought,” said Moon, who was named to the national team’s preliminary roster.
Moon Dong-ju, who emerged as the next national ace at last year’s Hangzhou Asian Games and the APBC, is also a favorite to make the final roster. There are a total of 19 pitchers on the reserve list, of which Moon Dong-ju, Kim Yun-sik, Shin Min-hyuk, Kwak Bin, Lee Yi-ri, Na Kyun-an, and Won Tae-in are the seven starting pitchers. Given the roster, Moon is likely to start one of the two games.
“If I can get on the mound, I will do my best,” Moon said. “Even if the opponent is a major leaguer, you don’t have to feel intimidated because they are the same hitter. In fact, it can be an advantage because I’ve never seen them before. I’m going to pitch with the idea that they’re good, but they’re also new to me, so I’m going to have an advantage.”
When asked which team he would rather face, the Dodgers or San Diego, he said, “I like the Dodgers, I like San Diego, they’re two of the best teams in the world.”
If he pitches against the Dodgers,
He will have the opportunity to face one of the most dominant superstars in baseball, Shohei Ohtani. The former Los Angeles Angels star became a Dodger in a 10-year, $700 million deal that is the largest in North American professional sports. 파워볼실시간 All eyes will be on Moon to see if his 160-kilometer fastball will work against Ohtani.
Moon is already working on his image for the big day. However, he decided not to reveal his strategy to the media in advance. “I’ve thought about facing Ohtani. I’ve even simulated it,” he said. “But the first pitch I’ll throw to him is a secret. He might see my interview,” he laughed, and wished for the match to take place on March 18.