“I didn’t even know there was a league in Korea”… That player goes out to block Ohtani
Merrill Kelly (35, Arizona), who is well-known to our fans for playing in the KBO League for 4 years, may not be a pitcher with national recognition in the United States. Basically, it is a major league with a strong regional tendency, and the major league career itself is short.
Such Kelly is raising his national awareness through the 5th World Baseball Classic (WBC) in 2023. Kelly, who has won 36 major league games over the past four years, plans to start in the WBC final against Japan, which will be held from 8:00 am (Korean time) on the 22nd.
The U.S. has built a powerful batting line in this tournament, and the bullpen is also on the high side. On the contrary, many pointed out that the starting lineup was somewhat less weighty. This is because a large number of American pitchers representing the major leagues announced their absence due to preparations for the season. In the meantime, it is unusual for Kelly to represent this luxury corps in the finals. Even 4 years ago, no, even 1 year ago, it was unimaginable.
Naturally, Kelly’s career is getting the attention of baseball fans. Since he is not a nationally well-known player, he is also receiving quite a bit of attention from the media. Sports media ‘Sporting News’ published a long column on the 21st (Korean time) highlighting Kelly’s career as a player. It covers Kelly’s baseball life from childhood to now. He, of course, also talked about playing in the KBO League. 바카라사이트
In an interview with ‘CUT4’, Kelly said, “When I first contacted (by contract), I didn’t even know there was a KBO league. I had never seen it, and I didn’t even know there was a professional league in Korea.”
‘Sporting News’ said, ‘He has adapted to life in Korea. He said he didn’t speak the language, the training schedule and food were different, and his girlfriend still lived in the US and worked as a kindergarten teacher, but his teammates said he helped him adjust to his new situation. got better During his time in Korea, he increased his speed from the low 90s he threw at Tampa Bay to the high 97 mph,’ he explained Kelly’s growth process.
Kelly has said many times that his professional life in Korea has helped him develop his skills and his career. Before the 2019 season, Kelly signed a 2 + 2 year contract with Arizona and made his major league debut, which he had dreamed of.
Kelly’s shoulders are heavy. The U.S. is aiming for a second consecutive victory in the tournament, and Japan’s momentum is fierce. Kelly needs to block his first three or so innings well before he can block Japan with the rest of the bullpen. If he pitches well in this game, Kelly could be in the national spotlight for the first time in his life.
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