‘First home run in ML debut in 3G → Beer and shaving cream baptism

3G 만에 ML 데뷔 첫 홈런→맥주·면도크림 세례…이정후가 펄펄 날자 SF가 열광했다 : 네이트 스포츠

When Lee Jung-hoo, the grandson of the wind, officially announced his entry into the big leagues early last year, not only Korea, but also Japan and the U.S., reacted enthusiastically. In particular, there was one team that invested a lot of time in Lee Jung-hoo for nearly a year from February last year. The San Francisco Giants, one of the ‘prestigious’ teams representing Major League Baseball (MLB), was the main character.

They’ve won eight World Series titles (1905, 1921, 1922, 1933, 1954, 2010, 2012, and 2014) and produced star players like catcher Buster Posey. However, the Giants missed the postseason in 2022 and 2023.

Last year alone, the Giants finished fourth in the National League West with 79 wins, 83 losses, and a .488 winning percentage due to the collective struggles of the team’s bats. San Francisco’s bats hit just .235 as a team. They were 28th out of the 30 major league clubs in runs scored all year. With a team OPS of .701, the offense was barely efficient.

The problem was that no one in the middle of the infield, where the catcher, shortstop, and second baseman form the center field line, was able to contribute. Luis Matos started 76 games in center field for San Francisco, the most of any player, but he batted just .250 (57-for-228) with two home runs, 14 RBIs, and a .661 OPS. His on-base percentage was just .319.

The Giants, who saw Lee’s big-league aspirations as a positive, moved quickly to open a sealed competitive bidding process last December and, less than two weeks later, signed him to a six-year, $113 million deal. San Francisco’s sincerity won Lee over.

“We’ve watched him develop into one of the best players in the KBO for a long time,” said San Francisco President Farhan Zaidi at the signing press conference last December. We had the opportunity to observe him at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March.” “Our plan is for him to play center field every day from the opening game of the (2024) season. Today (the induction ceremony) is a great and exciting day in the history of the San Francisco organization.”

San Francisco third base coach Matt Williams, who watched Lee play in the KBO as manager of the Kia Tigers in 2020-2021, told The Athletic in February this year, “Lee is a good outfielder and the best hitter in the KBO. He’s also a good baserunner. Even when he’s not with the bat, he contributes to the team (in terms of runs, hits, and defense). He has a great understanding of the game and is well-liked by his teammates in the clubhouse.” “The San Francisco scouts have been watching him for a long time, and while they didn’t need my opinion to sign him, we felt he would be a great addition to the team. He will be the ‘missing link’ that will lead San Francisco to a World Series championship.”

San Francisco Giants manager Bob Melvin, who coached Kim for two years with the San Diego Padres from 2022, said of Lee at the start of this year’s exhibition games, “I think he definitely has good speed, and I think they’re looking for him to be a little more aggressive in the outfield. You never know what kind of havoc he can cause.”

His teammates didn’t disagree. “His skill level is special,” catcher Tom Murphy told the San Francisco Mercury News before the start of the regular season, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a guy strike out as little as he does. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player strike out as little as he does,” Murphy said, adding, “He’s a guy who could have a huge year for our team.”

Outfielder Michael Conforto said, “He has a knack for producing barrel hits and has quick hands. He understands the game well. I could go on and on about what we saw in spring training and exhibition games. I think everybody is going to be impressed with him,” he said, while fellow outfielder Mike Yastrzemski added, “He has a really good personality 카지노 and is a great teammate.”

After warming up in an exhibition game, Lee hit his first big league home run in just three games. Lee started at first base and center field against the San Diego Padres in the 2024 Major League Baseball (MLB) World Series at Petco Park in San Diego, California, U.S.A., on May 31, and went 1-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs in the team’s 9-6 victory. He also extended his hitting streak to three games to open the season.

After failing to reach base in his previous three at-bats on a fielder’s choice, shortstop grounder, fielder’s choice, and sacrifice fly, Lee made his presence felt in his fourth at-bat. With his team leading 3-1 in the top of the eighth inning, Lee hit a three-pitch sweeper from San Diego lefty Tom Cosgrove for a solo arch over the right field wall. The home fans in San Diego, as well as the traveling fans, were stunned by the home run. Even Lee’s father, Lee Jong-beom, who was watching the game from the stands, jumped to his feet and pumped his fist in the air.

The game ended in a victory for San Francisco, and local media in the U.S. continued to spotlight Lee. After the game, Lee was all smiles as he was doused with beer and shaving cream by his teammates. It showed how much the San Francisco team members cared about him.

“It only took a few swings in camp for the San Francisco organization to realize Lee’s resemblance to his idol, Ichiro Suzuki. Ichiro had a natural ability to send balls to the wall when he needed to,” and “In the first few days (of spring training), Lee’s batted ball sailed over the right-field wall at Scottsdale Stadium. San Francisco wanted him to show more punch than many people realized, and it showed in this game.”

“The home run was the ‘highlight’ of a game full of Lee, and his teammates acknowledged it after the game ended in a 9-6 victory. “While Conforto hit a grand slam and pitcher Jordan Hicks (who was acquired ahead of the season) got off to a strong start, it was Lee who was drenched in a beer shower,” he said of the postgame scene.

Lee will now attempt to extend his hitting streak to four games. With Lee’s performance, the Giants evened the series at 2-2, and will try to win their third straight on April 1 in the final game of the four-game series against San Diego.


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