The usually reticent veteran Park Byung-ho, who leads by example, was presented with a pair of pixelated sunglasses and a crown during his post-match interview. He quickly removed the crown in embarrassment, but wore the sunglasses for a long time and enjoyed the joy of victory.
The game between KT Wiz and SSG Landers in the Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League 2023 held at SSG Landers Field in Incheon on April 12 was a masterpiece pitching match between Kim Kwang-hyun and Benjamin. On that day, Benjamin threw 103 pitches, allowing no runs on eight hits and no walks with eight strikeouts in eight innings, earning his 15th win of the season. Kim Kwang-hyun also threw 109 pitches for six innings of four-hit ball, two walks, five strikeouts, and one run, but was unable to get any run support from his offense and suffered his seventh loss of the season.
Park Byung-ho was the difference in the game. Byung-ho Park was the No. 4 hitter on the day, sweeping all three of KT’s hits. With the score tied at 0-0 in the top of the sixth inning, Park hit a changeup from Kim Kwang-hyun with runners on second and third to break the tie, and in the top of the ninth inning, he hit a game-winning two-run home run off Lee Irene to give KT the win.
Park Byung-ho is not currently in top form. He injured his left calf while batting last month. He hasn’t been able to play for a while and has recently been playing as a designated hitter. He”s dedicated to the team. In particular, he’s been taking advantage of chances like the ‘national bubble’. He has only hit 14 home runs this season due to injuries, but he hasn’t lost his ability to find the back of the net. As of the 15th, Park’s batting average in scoring position is .352, which ranks fourth in the league, and he has the most RBIs on the team with 71. He also has nine game-winning hits.
Park suffered from severe batting slumps in 2020 and 2021, leading to speculation that he was on an aging curve. However, after signing as a free agent with KT last year, he shook off the rust, batting .275 with 118 hits, 35 home runs, 98 RBIs, and a 0.908 OPS. In particular, his 35 home runs helped him regain the home run title for the first time in three years, signaling the resurgence of the national giant.
Park won his first home run title in 2012 (31 home runs) and has since won the title six times: 2013 (37 home runs), 2014 (52 home runs), 2015 (53 home runs), 2019 (33 home runs), and 2022 (35 home runs). He also played in the Major Leagues, and his 376 career home runs in the KBO ranks third on the all-time home run list. 메이저놀이터
With all of these impressive personal records, there’s one thing he hasn’t accomplished. That’s a championship. He has yet to win a championship ring. He has played in the Korean Series twice with the Heroes, finishing as the runner-up. For Park, who has battled through injuries for his team, there is only one goal left: to win the Korean Series.
There’s a saying that the last man standing is the winner. It will be interesting to see if Park Byung-ho will be able to play late into the season and enjoy the thrill of winning his first Korean Series title.