After widening the lead at third base, Choo Shin-soo (41‧SSG) suddenly started running home. All the spectators started screaming, noticing the match between the pitcher and the hitter, but paying attention to Shin-soo Choo’s gesture as he ran home.
Choo Shin-soo drew attention by attempting an unexpected ‘home steal’ during the 7th inning of the season opener against KIA held at SSG Landers Field in Incheon on the 1st. It was a situation with two outs and bases loaded in the 7th inning when the team was leading 3-1. In a situation where opponent pitcher Kim Ki-hoon’s pitch was shaking, Choo Shin-soo ran home the moment Kim Ki-hoon threw 4 pitches in the 1B-2S situation. ‘Home Still’ is a rare scene that you should only see once in a season. That’s what Choo Shin-soo was trying to do. 메이저놀이터
There were no official results. Before Choo Shin-soo was tagged, the referee judged that Kim Ki-hoon’s 4 pitches had passed through the strike zone. Since the 7th inning had already ended with Hanyu Island’s strikeout, Choo Shin-soo’s home still did not need to cover an out and a safe.
Regarding this situation, Choo Shin-soo confessed after the game that he gambled because he thought the opposing pitcher was having difficulty controlling his pitch. It was not a bench operation, it was my own judgment. Choo Shin-soo said, “I was throwing more balls than strikes. Rather, he blamed himself for hesitating during the start process and that he should have stopped the start more drastically.
Although it was not a successful play, this home still is a play that clearly shows how focused Choo Shin-soo was on the game. It was a situation where the lead was 3-1, and the bases were loaded with 2 outs and the batter was driven to 2S. Ordinary runners just watch the situation. However, Choo Shin-soo tried to dig into the opponent’s gap in any way. The hearts of the juniors watching this from the bench must have been different.
Choo Shin-soo is past his prime, and it is clear that his physical abilities have declined. However, he read a wide range of his opponent’s pitcher, battery, and even the movement of the opponent’s infield, and the number of stolen bases he succeeded with his sense reached 40 over the past two years. This cannot be achieved without thorough analysis and focus on the game. He has the title of the most successful pitcher in Korean baseball history and one of the best Asian pitchers in major league history, but there is no word for ‘roughly’ in Shin-soo Choo’s baseball dictionary.
He was experiencing something for the first time in his life. Shin-soo Choo hit a solo home run that tied Sean Anderson’s fastball over the right-middle fence in the first inning with the score trailing 0-1. It was a home run that provided relief to SSG Dougout, and it was also the first home run in the KBO League in 2023. Choo Shin-soo: Personally, this is the first time I have ever hit a home run in a season opener. Choo Shin-soo said, “There was no home run, and the opening day performance was not good.”
This is the part where you can get a glimpse of Choo Shin-soo’s thorough preparation. In 2021, his contract was late, and preparation for the season was delayed as he went through self-isolation due to Corona 19. 2022 was delayed joining camp altogether due to his elbow surgery. But this year is different. He was able to prepare for the season without any restrictions, and entered the season with his own winning numbers, such as modifying the batting form he used for a while in Texas. The result was his great performance in the exhibition game, and his opening home run and 3 on-base performance. Personally, the 23rd season in the professional world. However, Shin-soo Choo’s passion for baseball is still burning like a rookie.