“When I was in the chair, I never imagined a day like today (the 15th). I had mixed feelings while watching the performance.”
Hanwha Eagles outfielder Chae Eun-sung, 33, chose military service in 2010, one of the hardest years of his baseball career. He had just graduated from Hyochun High School and joined the LG Twins as a developmental player in 2009, giving him a taste of the pros. As she realized the barriers of the professional stage and grew frustrated, she decided to take a break from the field to deal with her military issues, and was selected for the chairman’s corps, where she served for a year and 10 months. At this time, Chae Eun-sung acquired the specialty of being able to spin a baseball bat with her eyes closed, but it was also the time when she ate the most tearful bread in her life.
At the ‘2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO All-Star Game’ held at Sajik Baseball Stadium in Busan on Friday, Chae Eun-sung unexpectedly brought out a piece of memory from 13 years ago. To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Korean War, the Navy Band performed during cleanup time. Chae Eun-sung was in the dugout with teammate Noh Si-hwan as they twirled the guns on the field, and she smiled with pride as she spun her bat to mimic their movements.
“It’s the same as riding a bike,” Chae said. Once you learn it, you can do it with your eyes closed. Watching the soldiers perform, I thought, ‘That’s how I used to do it.’ I remembered the old days. I couldn’t imagine a day like today when I was in the chair. Watching the performance made me feel all kinds of emotions, and it made me appreciate the present.”
“As you can imagine, Chae Eun-sung is a completely different athlete than she was 13 years ago. Through sweat and hard work, she has become one of the best players in the KBO League. Before this season, she became a free agent for the first time in her career and signed a six-year, 9 billion won contract with Hanwha, and at the All-Star Game, she won the Home Run Race (5 million won) and Mr. All-Star (10 million won), earning 15 million won in prize money. In the 42-year history of the All-Star Game, Chae Eun-sung is the only player to win the Home Run Race and Mr. All-Star title at the same time.
Chae Eun-sung made Sajik Baseball Stadium, packed with 22,990 fans from 10 clubs, her own. From her first at-bat in the top of the first inning, she hit a double to right-center field for a 1-0 lead, and with two outs in the top of the fourth inning, she hit a grand slam to left field off Lotte’s Koo Seung-min to extend the lead to 8-0. The Nanum All-Stars’ victory and Chae Eun-sung’s MVP honors were effectively sealed.
The all-star game was also a record. It was the second grand slam in the history of the All-Star Game in 41 years, after Kim Yong-hee (Lotte, Dong-gun) in the third game of the All-Star Game on July 4, 1982 at Dongdaemun Stadium. With five RBIs on the day, Chae also tied the record for most RBIs in a single All-Star Game (SK Hanyusum, 2019).
After her dreamy two days, Chae Eun-sung admitted that she was “a little giddy.” “I didn’t pay attention to the MVP award because I thought Socrates (KIA) was going to win it. It’s the first time I’ve been with fans since Corona, so I came with the intention of participating. I came with the idea of having fun,” she said, adding that she was in disbelief.토토사이트
No longer a one-woman myth, Chae Eun-sung is now looking to share her good fortune with Hanwha. Hanwha finished the first half of the season in eighth place with a record of 34 wins, 40 losses, and four draws. Having been a perennial last-place finisher in the 2020s, they may be happy to escape last place, but Hanwha now has its sights set on a top-five finish. At 2.5 games behind the fifth-place Lotte Giants (38-39), the challenge is worth it.
Chae Eun-sung said, “The team’s mood is getting better, and we’ve won some tight games to keep the momentum going. I think we can start the second half in a good mood. We need to share the good energy,” she said, dreaming of soaring higher with Hanwha in the second half.