“Honestly, it was tough.”
That’s what Hanwha Eagles catcher Lee Jae-won, 36, said at Melbourne Ballpark in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, on Friday (Aug. 5). “I’m not saying I’m struggling at all. On his third day at Hanwha’s spring training camp, Jae-won was too cheerful.
Change was inevitable. Lee has been dealing with a combination of hitting slumps and nagging injuries over the past three to four years. In his 20s, he made a name for himself as a left-handed pitching killer and offensive catcher, but lately, he’s been so atrophied, he’s been under a lot of stress.
Lee said he received a coaching offer from SSG after the 2023 season. It could be interpreted as an invitation to retire. But he said, “I didn’t want to. It would have been nice to be able to show my original self, the human Lee Jae-won, in a normal way, regardless of whether I was good or bad at baseball, but that wasn’t the case.”
“I was down because I didn’t play baseball well, and I was down, and I didn’t look good, and they helped me, but it was hard. I was having a hard time, and everyone around me was having a hard time. I felt like this wasn’t right.” He felt that he needed one last, new challenge to find his true self.
She was offered a position with Hanwha and decided to make the move to Daejeon. Luckily, Hanwha has the same coaches, prints, and players he had with the SK Wyverns. “I feel like it’s been there since before that,” Lee said. The players, coaches, and front office are so good. I was actually worried. I wanted to come to the camp as soon as possible. I was worried in January, but my worries were unfounded.”
Hanwha has a lot of young players. Lee Jae-won has been fulfilling the role of a veteran catcher in the bullpen, receiving pitches from the younger pitchers, encouraging them, and giving them 토토사이트 serious advice. When asked to describe his role, he was amused.
“I hope I can find my form and help the team by working with the younger players. I’m very happy to be here at Hanwha. I don’t know the players here yet, but I know (Lee) Myung-gi and (Kim) Kang-min, so it’s brightened my day. I see baseball in a new light,” he said.
Until he found this brightness, he saw no point in retiring or accepting a leadership position. At Hanwha, Lee found his reason for being. “I felt like I had to find myself,” he said. “Hanwha players are very nice. We talk a lot.”
The exceptionally vigorous fighting is not artificial. It’s a reaction that comes from the heart because they really enjoy playing baseball. Lee Jae-won said, “It just comes naturally. I’m up. I feel confident. It’s exhausting to go into a room like this. The ball feels so good. I’m happy.”