Freedom of choice – retaliatory penalty, homework left by Shim Jun-seok going to the US

Right-handed pitcher Shim Jun-seok, considered the future of Korean baseball, challenges the American stage. On January 16 (Korean time), reported that “The Pittsburgh Pirates have agreed to join Shim Jun-seok, who is ranked 10th in the international prospect rankings.”

Shim Jun-seok, who is expected to graduate from Deoksoo High School and was chosen as the best pitcher in high school, revealed his dream of an early major league challenge early on. Shim Jun-seok, who announced his move to the United States ahead of the 2023 KBO draft, signed an agent contract with Scott Boras, who is known as a super agent in the major leagues. gave a high evaluation to Shim Jun-seok’s pitching form and physical potential based on his excellent physical condition, and compared him to Park Chan-ho, the originator of the Korean major leaguers.

Pittsburgh is also a team with a deep relationship with Korean players. In 2010, the last team Park Chan-ho played for in the United States was Pittsburgh, and Kang Jung-ho, an infielder who retired in disgrace for drunk driving, spent his heyday in Pittsburgh. Infielder Park Hyo-joon also went through Pittsburgh. Currently, infielders Choi Ji-man and Bae Ji-hwan belong. For Shim Jun-seok, who has to step up from the first stage of the minor league in an unfamiliar American land, it is expected that having seniors close by who can give advice and become a support will be a great help.

Attention is also drawn to the size of Shim Jun-seok’s contract. The Korean player who signed with the MLB club as an amateur and received the highest amount of money was pitcher Kim Byeong-hyun, who signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 1999 for $2.25 million. Ryu Jae-guk (Chicago Cubs), who received 1.6 million dollars in 2001, Choo Shin-soo (Seattle Mariners), who signed 1.37 million dollars in 2000, followed by Park Chan-ho, who signed a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers for 1.2 million dollars. The size of the contract is important because in the United States, which goes back to a thorough business-first mindset, ‘club investment’ is directly related to guaranteeing opportunities. 

Baseball fans are expecting Shim Jun-seok to grow into a player like the next Park Chan-ho or Ryu Hyun-jin, as he is challenging the big water. But the contract with Pittsburgh is only the first gateway to the big leagues. After that, a rough journey of several years awaits Shim Jun-seok. 

Beginning with Park Chan-ho in the 1990s, many Korean prospects graduated from high school and immediately challenged themselves on the American stage. However, very few of them made their debut or successfully established themselves in the major leagues. Park Chan-ho and Choo Shin-soo, who lived a long life in the major leagues and hit the FA jackpot, had to endure years of difficult minor league life before they made a soft landing in the US.

Since the 2010s, it has become a more common route to challenge the American stage by gaining qualifications to advance overseas after working in the KBO League, like Hyun-jin Ryu, Jung-ho Kang, Ha-seong Kim, and Gwang-hyeon Kim. Lee Jung-hoo (Kiwoom Heroes), who is currently considered the best player in the KBO League, is also being talked about as a possibility to advance to the major leagues after next year.

Those who support Shim Jun-seok’s early challenge on the American stage emphasize the player’s dream and freedom of career choice. Even though it has improved a lot compared to before, it still takes too long to go through the KBO league and get a chance to go abroad. In addition, pitchers are at risk of injury or overuse while digesting many pitches at a young age in the KBO league. Rather, it is argued that it is not bad to start in the United States, where the rookie training system is systematically established.

However, success in overseas expansion is not just about being good at baseball. Adapting to daily life in the United States, which is completely different from Korea in terms of language, food, and travel distance outside of baseball, is never a simple matter for a young player. Previously, seniors who challenged the American stage also cited environmental adaptation problems such as communication and loneliness due to homesickness rather than baseball as the most difficult part.

Also, no matter how well-established the player training system is in theory, it is ultimately ‘people’ that teach players. In Korea, as a top prospect, you can expect intensive management from the club, affectionate care from the leaders, strong humane ties with seniors and juniors, and advice. do. Shim Jun-seok is just one of many promising prospects in the United States and has to survive the competition. 

On the other hand, it is also worth considering that Shim Jun-seok suffered a considerable amount of ‘penalty’ while choosing to go to the United States. According to the KBO League Baseball Rules, ‘Among new players, players who have attended high school or higher in Korea and signed a contract with a foreign professional team without registering as a player belonging to a Korean professional team are subject to KBO membership for two years from the date the player contract with the foreign team is terminated. You cannot contract with ‘.

If Shim Jun-seok signs a contract with an American club, he will not be able to play in Korean professional baseball for two years after the contract ends. This has been maintained in the name of protecting Korean baseball from the indiscriminate outflow of prospects by foreign clubs, despite criticism that it infringes on players’ freedom of choice.

In addition, Deoksu High School, his alma mater, suffered great damage immediately due to Shim Jun-seok going to the United States. According to the KBO regulations, ‘All support funds, such as youth development funds, will not be paid to the school where the player graduated from for 5 years from the time a new player signed a contract with a foreign professional team.’ 온라인카지노

Currently, amateur baseball is dependent on a large part of the baseball team’s operation on support from professional clubs. However, because of Shim Jun-seok’s arbitrary trip to the United States, the juniors of Deoksu High School had to endure enormous disadvantages for several years.

As the treatment of players such as free agency contracts has recently improved and the status of the league has increased, Korean professional baseball is not so concerned about losing promising players indiscriminately to the US and Japan as before. In addition, the penalty of banning foreign prospects from going to the KBO for two years is controversial in that it is already freedom of career choice. However, at least this stops in the area that individual players have to handle.

However, blocking support from an athlete’s alma mater is another dimension. This is an evil law that takes responsibility for baseball juniors who have nothing to do with the player as hostage, like a guilt-by-association system, and is clearly retaliatory double punishment. Deoksoo High School recommended Shim Jun-seok to join the KBO league and advance to the big leagues, but it is known that Shim Jun-seok’s intention to go to the United States was very strong.

Suppressing with reckless penalties is not the only way to do it. Blocking support for amateurs, the cradle of Korean baseball’s promising stars, could be a foolish self-killer that will soon hold back Korean baseball in the long run. This is the homework that Shim Jun-seok’s splendid American stage left in Korean baseball. 

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