“The first time I took the mound in 14 days was 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th. I stopped it and got on the bus, but I cried. Is there any meaning in playing baseball like this?”
A bleak future faced at a considerable age, a sincere expression that anyone can relate to. Kang Ri-ho (33, Kang Yun-gu) conveyed his honest feelings.
On the 3rd, Kang Ri-ho had time to communicate with baseball fans about his situation and the intention of declaring free agency despite the risk of missing children through his SNS live broadcast.
What Kang Ri-ho especially wanted to clarify was a misunderstanding with Lotte Giants fans. He repeatedly emphasized “Thank you for the love of Lotte fans” in the broadcast preview and during the broadcast.
Kang Ri-ho explained, “I was ashamed of myself for not being able to play baseball.” It is the same as what he revealed after the 2021 season. He pitches in 50 to 60 games a season if he is a one-point relief. However, Kang Ri-ho only digested 21⅓ innings in 29 games last year.
Even at the time of his professional debut, Kang Ri-ho was one of the top 3 prospects in Seoul that year along with Lee Hak-joo and Seong Young-hun. Expectations were high for a left-handed pitcher with a 1m83 physique and a 150km fastball. The Heroes, who sent away major stars such as Lee Taek-geun and Jang Won-sam, were also tied to ‘absolutely impossible’.
However, as a result, the season did not live up to expectations. In 2012, when he recorded an average ERA of 4.08 with 4 wins and 7 losses in 27 games (21 starts) and 6 wins, 6 losses, 7 holds and 4.36 in 41 games (17 starts) in 2013, the future was expected. However, these two seasons remained career highs.
Kang Ri-ho wanted more opportunities to participate regardless of his position. He pitched once every 1-2 weeks and pitched less than 1 inning.
After the 2022 season was over, after receiving the club’s proposal to freeze the salary, he was upset with his own reality. “If I go out now, I will definitely lose my child,” he refused to dissuade Seong Min-gyu and declared free agency.
Kang Ri-ho said in a live broadcast that day, “All baseball players aim for the FA jackpot. It is everyone’s dream. I have never spent a single day in (pro) baseball in 14 years.” I wondered if it would be meaningful to go out once. What should I do when I finish doing this three times, four times?”
Also, “I haven’t been sick since 2020, but my speed has dropped. I struggled. I wondered if I was right in the pro. Lotte is the 1st team in average speed. There are many pitchers with fast balls.” There is no compensation because it is a C-class free agent, so if there is a team that needs it, I was determined to try again.”
Regarding the so-called ‘holding right’ controversy, he explained, “I did free agency, but I thought it was meaningless to negotiate annual salaries. 먹튀검증
Kang Ri-ho said, “I couldn’t find a team until January and told my agent, ‘I think I have to quit. I don’t think there will be a place in the pros.’ It is a waste of the skills I have learned so far,” he added. “I love and thank the Lotte fans who listened to me. I will think a little more carefully,” he said.
Kang Ri-ho is the name he changed from Kang Yoon-goo in January. At the time, he explained, “Hasn’t he ever played baseball well (professional) while using the name Kang Yun-gu? He wants to do well with a new name.” On this day, Kang Ri-ho explained that in addition to the KBO league, he is also perusing foreign leagues such as independent baseball, Mexico and Taiwan.
Kang Ri-ho’s live broadcast at 9:00 pm was watched by many Lotte colleagues in real time. Park Se-woong and Han Dong-hee, who represent pitching, Lee In-bok, Lee Hak-joo, Kim Min-soo, Go Seung-min, and Kim Joo-hyun shared candid confessions from former colleagues and seniors.