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‘All-Star Game thaw’ Park returns faster than expected in second half… ‘2G, 24 points’ NC offense gets stronger

The NC Dinos ended the first half of the season by reversing their slumping mood. In addition, center fielder Park Gun-woo (33), who had become estranged from his manager, raised the possibility of a comeback through the All-Star Game.

NC finished the first half in fourth place overall with 39 wins, 38 losses and one tie in 78 games before the All-Star break, a winning percentage of 0.506. There were many twists and turns, but the team finished the first half on a high note with two straight series wins.

It was nothing short of a miracle. Heading into the season, NC was rated as a bottom-tier team after missing out on internal free agents such as Yang Ji (36-Dusan Bears) and Noh Jin-hyuk (34-NC Dinos). In addition, the team had a tough time during the season, losing a number of starters to injuries, including Koo Chang-mo (26), Lee Jae-hak (33), and Choi Sung-young (26).

Nonetheless, NC jumped to the top three with a winning percentage of over 5 percent (0.529) through June. However, after losing five straight games against the Changwon LG Electronics on June 21, the NC suffered another five-game losing streak in early July. In particular, in a series against the last-place Samsung Lions at home on July 8-9, the NC failed to score a single point in the entire two-game series and suffered a sweep (Game 1 was rained out), breaking their 5-percent winning percentage.

In the meantime, an internal team issue erupted: Park Gun-woo, who had been playing center field, was suddenly dropped to the second team on the third day. It wasn’t an injury, a slump, or any other incident, so it raised questions. The next day, Kang In-hwa, 51, said, “A senior player needs not only skill but also virtue. When I became the head coach, I wanted the senior players in our team not to do anything that would deviate from the One-Team. In that sense, I was very disappointed in Park Gun-woo and felt that he needed time to think about it.” He revealed the reason for the expungement.

Park requested to be substituted in the eighth inning of the Suwon KT game on April 2 to control his physical condition. The game was a close one, so it was a big disappointment. Ahead of the game against Gochuk Kiwoom on the 4th, Kang admitted that “Sunday (the 2nd) was probably the decisive day,” but said, “As a manager, it’s not about taming players or disciplining the team. I wanted to give a message that we shouldn’t deviate from the principles that I have always had.”

Park was batting .286 with seven home runs, 41 RBIs, six doubles and an OPS of .816 in 69 games in the first half of the season. He was coming off an early-season slump and was starting to find his groove. He was even leading the team in home runs at the time of his release, so he was important to the team, but that didn’t deter his manager from making the team.

Some worried that the conflict was deep, as Kang said, “I didn’t meet with the player (after the first-team expulsion).” “I hope it’s not read too much into it,” Kang evolved, and recently said, “There is no such thing as reflection. I don’t want to make a big deal out of it,” he said.

The awkward atmosphere turned into a “thawing mood” at the All-Star Game. Park Gun-woo, who was selected as one of the Dream All-Stars’ Best 12, said before the game, “I met with the coach earlier and talked to him.” According to a club official, Park Gun-woo and coach Kang Myung-hyun had a conversation at Samsung Electronics in Changwon on the 7th (rained out). “There’s nothing to say because it was a conversation with the coach,” he said, but it was clear that something had changed.

Park had a dark look on his face during pregame events and even when he entered the field, but during the game, he seemed to regain his smile. In the bottom of the first inning, after coming through with a double to left field, Park Gun-woo made a fist gesture with Coach Kang, who was the first base coach. Coach Kang also greeted Park with applause. Park then turned 90 degrees toward Kang, who was receiving his protective gear. The two men shared a faint smile.

Park then came through with a hit in the fourth inning, earning another round of applause from Kang. It was clear that the distance between the two had narrowed to some extent.

This means that Park’s quick return to the team, which seemed uncertain, is now possible. He was already eligible for the first team on the 13th, but Kang decided to finish the first half without him. In their last series against Lotte, NC scored a whopping 24 runs in two games to lift their slumping batting. With Park in the lineup, the team could once again replicate its early-season form.스포츠토토

“I’m being briefed on (Park) by the Futures coaches,” Kang said on Nov. 11. At the time, he said, “I’m getting reports on his attitude in training,” adding, “It’s important to know what kind of mindset he’s playing with and whether he’s sticking to practice. We are checking that,” he said, explaining the call-up criteria.

The NC First Team will begin training on the 16th, the day after the All-Star Game. It was unclear whether Park would even join the first team during the All-Star break, but in this atmosphere, it is not impossible for him to participate in training and be called up early in the second half.

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