Hanwha Eagles rookie of the year Moon Dong-ju, 21, is already looking forward to March. He’ll get a chance to see if his 160-kilometer fastball will work against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Not in the United States, but in Seoul’s Gocheok Sky Dome.
Moon was named to the 35-man preliminary roster for the Korean National Team (Team Korea) for the MLB World Tour Seoul Series Special Game, announced by the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) on Feb. 2. In addition to Moon, Hanwha has four players on the preliminary roster: pitcher Hwang Jun-seo, infielders Noh Si-hwan and Moon Hyun-bin. The team is second only to the Lotte Giants, who have five.
The KBO said, “The preliminary roster is composed of young players who gained international experience by participating in the Hangzhou Asian Games and the APBC (Asian Professional Baseball Championship) last year. It is expected that the young players who will lead the league in the future will accumulate various experiences by playing against outstanding players in Major League Baseball and show their growth in the 2024 KBO League and international tournaments such as the Premier 12 in November and the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in 2026,” explained the selection criteria.
As part of its efforts to expand baseball’s reach, Major League Baseball will host the official opening game of the 2024 season on March 20-21 at Gocheok SkyDome in Seoul, South Korea. The National League West’s San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers will travel to Seoul for the opening two games of the season, both of which will be broadcast live across the United States on ESPN.
South Korea will become the 12th country to host a Major League Baseball game when it opens the season at Gocheok SkyDome. Seoul is the fifth city in history to host the regular season opener, joining Monterrey, Mexico; Tokyo, Japan; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Sydney, Australia.
There’s more. Prior to the first two games of the regular season, San Diego and the Dodgers will host an exhibition game between the Kiwoom Heroes, LG Twins, and the Korean National Team at Gocheok Sky Dome, where the team will face San Diego on April 17 and the Dodgers on April 18. The future of Korean baseball will gain invaluable experience against the Dodgers and San Diego, two of the most powerful teams in Major League Baseball.
“I’m honored,” said Moon Dong-ju at the spring training camp in Melbourne, Australia on the 2nd. I feel good. I don’t know when I’ll get to play against big leaguers like that. It’s good that the opportunity came sooner than I thought,” Moon said of his selection to the national team’s reserve roster.
Moon Dong-ju, who emerged as the next national ace at last year’s Hangzhou Asian Games and the APBC, is also a favorite to make the final roster. There are 19 pitchers on the preliminary roster, but there are only seven starting options, including Moon Dong-ju, Kim Yun-sik, Shin Min-hyuk, Kwak Bin, Lee Yi-ri, Na Kyun-an, and Won Tae-in. Given the roster, Moon is likely to start one of the two games.
“If I can get on the mound, I will do my best,” Moon said. “Even if the opponent is a major leaguer, you don’t need to be intimidated by the same hitter. In fact, it can be an 온라인카지노사이트 advantage because I’ve never seen them before. I hope their ability is good, but they are also facing me for the first time, so I will throw with the idea that I have the advantage.”
When asked which team he would rather face, the Dodgers or San Diego, he said, “I like the Dodgers, I like San Diego, they’re two of the best teams in the world.”
If he pitches against the Dodgers, he’ll have the chance to face one of the most dominant superstars in baseball, Shohei Ohtani. The former Los Angeles Angels star became a Dodger in a 10-year, $700 million deal that is the largest in North American professional sports. All eyes will be on Moon to see if his 160-kilometer fastball will work against Ohtani.
Moon is already working on his image for the big day. However, he decided not to reveal his strategy to the media in advance. “I’ve thought about facing Ohtani. I’ve even simulated it,” he said. “But the first pitch I’ll throw to him is a secret. He might see my interview,” he laughed, and wished for the match to take place on March 18.