“It’s new (new and surprising). How many people are suffering now because of one person… It’s embarrassing.”
Kang Baek-ho (24, KT), a “genius hitter” whose annual salary was cut in half this year, could not hide his bitterness when he saw the reporters flocking to him. This is because he was unable to leave for the US spring camp with his colleagues due to the tug of war with the club and the salary negotiations, and belatedly ‘leaving alone’. Kang Baek-ho’s annual salary for the 2023 season was 290 million won, which was cut in half from 550 million won in the previous season.
On the 31st, Kang Baek-ho met with the reporters before leaving for the Arizona camp through Incheon International Airport and calmly said, “I couldn’t do it last year, so I have to work hard this year.” Kang Baek-ho’s 2022 season was like a nightmare. He played only 62 of 144 games due to two major injuries. His performance was only 0.242 batting average, 6 homers and 29 RBIs. His road to success, which followed in the footsteps of Jung-hoo Lee (25, Kiwoom), who was one year his senior in his professional debut, was also put on hold.
Kang Baek-ho was willing to cut his salary. However, there was a big disagreement with the club over the width of his cuts. After going through the pain of negotiations, he finally signed the seal on the night of the 28th, the day before the team’s departure from the main camp. It’s something to be ashamed of. However, in the past, he decided to use this as an opportunity to clenched his teeth rather than keep it in his mind.
Kang Baek-ho said, “It’s a sensitive question,” when the topic of his salary contract came up, but he said, “It’s not about the salary, so I don’t pay much attention. And somehow, he is well-coordinated and participates in the camp. He has a lot of things that the club has taken care of. He emphasized that this year he will show that the annual salary does not divide the player’s ‘class’.” 안전놀이터
As I spent a season with regrets, I felt the importance of taking care of my body. Kang Baek-ho said, “You have to take good care of your body. I thought that skills were not everything, but the details were really important,” he said.
This year, not only his team but also the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) national team need to restore their honor. Despite the sluggish performance last season, Kang Baek-ho joined the national team led by his team’s head coach Lee Kang-cheol. At the time of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics held in 2021, a dugout chewing gum with a sad expression in a situation where the team was losing was caught on the relay screen and received criticism from baseball fans.
Kang Baek-ho said, “I think I have to show a lot of good things so that the fans will accept it and say, ‘It was okay’.” I guess it depends on how you deal with it after that. We have to prove more.”
Now, with a 6-year professional car, the responsibility for the Taegeuk mark has grown even more. He said, “I always felt less responsible because I was the youngest wherever I went, but this time I have accumulated years of experience, and I feel responsible as much as I look forward to it.” I will try to show a good image,” he said with strength.