NC Dinos outfielder Park Gun-woo (33) chose to go head-to-head with a 90-degree salute to manager Kang Myung-ho.
Park started in right field as the No. 7 hitter for the Nanum All-Stars in the ‘2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO All-Star Game’ at Sajik Baseball Stadium in Busan on March 15. It was his first appearance in front of fans since the work ethic controversy. He didn’t have a chance to settle the controversy himself as he was excluded from the first team roster on the previous three days, but he chose to reward the fans for their support as he was selected as one of the ‘Best 12 All-Stars’ by the fans.
Park said, “Today (the 15th) was voted for by the fans, so I hope I can enjoy myself here for today. If I get a chance in the future, I’d better tell you then.” He didn’t want the atmosphere of the once-a-year festival to dampen because of him.
Instead, Park used the power of the festival to ask Kang for forgiveness in a way that was neither too heavy nor too light. Before the All-Star game, he high-fived Kang to lighten the mood, and during the game, when he reached base, he bent at an uncharacteristic 90-degree angle as he handed his equipment to Kang, the first base coach. He acknowledged that the controversy was self-inflicted and hoped that Kang, who must have suffered alongside him, would laugh it off.
“I think a player of Park Gun-woo’s caliber should set a good example, not just his skills. I didn’t want him to do anything that deviated from the team’s policy.”
This was Kang’s explanation for leaving Park out of the first team roster on the last three days. With Kang calling out the work ethic, one of the most taboo subjects in team sports, Park couldn’t avoid criticism from disappointed fans. Fans’ disappointment was compounded by the fact that he had been dropped from the first team for the same issue in 2020 while playing for the Doosan Bears. At this point, he was at risk of being labeled a troublemaker.
The team’s expectations for Park were high. Park signed a six-year, 10 billion won free agent contract with NC ahead of the 2022 season and opted to move on. As one of the youngest teams in the league, NC wanted Park to not only provide a boost in the offense, but also guide the younger players like a veteran in the dugout. “It’s not just about skill, it’s about setting a good example,” Kang said.
Kang’s public expression of disappointment in Park wasn’t just to humiliate him. It’s more likely that he chose to do so because he believes that Park is an important player on the team and can show a more mature demeanor for the team. If you have no expectations, you swallow your words.
There’s no way Park Gun-woo didn’t know that his coach felt the same way. Immediately after the controversy, he visited Kang in person and had a conversation with him. Although Park Gun-woo was coy, saying, “I don’t want to reveal what kind of conversation I had with the coach,” 오래된 토토사이트 it was clear that the conversation went well. It even went as far as a 90-degree greeting ceremony(?).
After being sent to the second team, Park kept his head down and played in the Futures League game, going 2-for-2 with a double and a run scored in the All-Star Game.