Doosan coach Lee Seung-yeop applauded Yang Eui-ji, the main catcher who announced his retirement from the national team, as a baseball senior, not as a manager.
Yang Eui-ji met with reporters at the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO Media Day on the 30th of last month and announced his intention to retire from the national team. Yang Eui-ji said, “This WBC (World Baseball Classic) was the last international competition in which the national team participated. I prepared hard and wanted to achieve good results, but it was regrettable that the results were not good,” he said. Now is the time to yield to the juniors,” he said, expressing his intention to put down the Taegeuk mark.
Yang Eui-ji, who joined Doosan in 2006 and became the main host from 2010, first wore the Taegeuk mark at the Premier 12 in 2015. Since then, he has participated in the 2017 WBC, the 2018 Jakarta-Palembam Asian Games, the 2019 Premier 12, the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, and the 2023 WBC, devoting himself to his country.
Until the 2023 WBC, Yang Eui-ji was not compatible with international competitions. Unlike his career batting average in the 30% range in the KBO league, his career performance in international competitions was quite low with a batting average of 10.69 li (14 hits in 83 at-bats) and 1 home run. Even at the Tokyo Olympics held in 2021, he was in charge of the main catcher, but was silent with a batting average of 103 and 6 (3 hits in 22 at-bats) and could not win a medal around his neck. 안전놀이터
This WBC was different. He broke the stigma of being a domestic hitter by swinging a batting average of 40% (4 hits in 10 at-bats), 5 RBIs, and an OPS of 1.455 in three games, including a home run against Australia and Japan in the first game. It is not an exaggeration to say that Yang Eui-ji led the national team’s batting line, so the one shot stood out at the decisive moment. However, despite Yang Eui-ji’s performance, the national team failed to advance to the quarterfinals, and Yang Eui-ji decided to put down the Taegeuk mark at the end of the 2023 WBC.
Doosan coach Lee Seung-yeop, whom I met recently in Jamsil, also knew about Yang Eui-ji’s retirement from the national team. Coach Lee said, “You have to respect the player’s own opinion.” On top of that, he had a hard time finishing. I also retired from the national team at the end of 2013, but it is right to respect the player’s intention to return the Taegeuk mark.”
Coach Lee, a former national hitter, further hoped that Yang’s retirement would lead to a virtuous cycle of generational change in the national team. Director Lee said, “The fact that there are many veterans in the international competition entry means that there are not that many new faces. But baseball fans always want a new face. Competition between old and new can help improve performance,” he emphasized.
Meanwhile, Yang Eui-ji, who returned to her parents for 15.2 billion won in 4+2 years prior to the 2023 season, will focus only on her team Doosan for up to six years.