C, a foreign pitcher I met a while ago, had thorough self-management. From taking care of his body before and after the game to his seriousness about the game and his determination to win, he was nothing short of an exemplary player. Sometimes his fighting spirit boiled over and he became rough, and there were times when he tried to control areas that were not his area.
On one occasion, C suffered from pain in his arm, prolonging his rehabilitation. The doctor’s diagnosis was that he had recovered, but C asked for more time, saying, “It is not complete. I will send the data to my doctor in the United States to get an opinion.” He learns that players and teams have different ideas. C said, “If I want to continue playing baseball, I need to know exactly whether I am healthy. If there is a problem with my body, it is natural to take a break.” He said that the team thought, “The hospital says it’s okay, but they don’t trust the level of medical care in our country. They don’t think about the team’s situation and only stick to their own position.” I was like that too at that time.
What I experienced is still repeated here and there. Hanwha already replaced pitcher Butch Smith early this season after a tug-of-war over a similar issue. LG, which won the regular season this year, is also anxious about whether ace Adam Plutko will return. Plutko, suffering from a pelvic injury, appeared to signal the end of his rehabilitation by pitching in a bullpen at Jamsil Stadium in late September, but he was sidelined again. It seems that both the team and the fans are impatient as the ‘fall baseball’ strategy may be disrupted.
A nuance of resignation can be read in a recent interview with LG coach Yeom Kyung-yeop, who was urging and pressuring the team to return. Coach Yeom experienced the long-term absence of pitcher Nick Kingham when he coached the SK Wyverns (now SSG Landers) in 2020, so he seems determined not to miss the moment of consideration or decision this time. This may be true in terms of the goal of winning and the principles of team management.
What about the position of foreign players? It is understandable that he thinks, ‘If I overdo it and can’t play next season, how will I be compensated?’ For him, his body and health are his top priorities. He never values winning. If he gets injured, he cannot sign a contract for the following year, so it is not persuasive to say, ‘Why don’t you think about the team?’
If you focus on body and health issues by claiming안전놀이터 that work ethic (work ethic, sincerity toward your work) is bad, there is no room for compromise. Many factors play a complex role in human judgment and behavior. If you assume that there is only one cause, that is, a problem with your personality or disposition, your feelings will be hurt and your heart will leave. So, the leader’s message must be divided into each stage and then carefully drawn out as cards one by one.
If it becomes known to the outside world and misunderstandings are added, things get more complicated. On social media (SNS) recently released by Plutko’s family, some fans’ harsh criticism can also be seen. To them, family is a much more important value than baseball, so if they feel that their family is hurt or attacked, their self-protection will become stronger.
In hindsight, I think it was a difference in perspective and culture. It’s not that one side is right and the other is wrong, it’s just that both sides have their own standards and things to understand. What do you think?
I think we shouldn’t make one side a ‘bad X’. It is necessary to look calmly at the multifaceted aspects of a person before and after an injury. Because for the team, this is business. Of course, team officials and fans are all human, so we feel even more hurt because our hearts that cared for him have been betrayed. However, thinking that you have given him a lot, including goodwill and consideration, can also be a sunk cost. This does not apply to foreign players seeking contracts.
What should I do? Before considering work habits, we must first fill in the gaps in the system. Foreign player contracts need to be elaborately revised at the league level. It is a way to resolve disputes and misunderstandings. In this case, a clause such as ‘the final medical opinion on medical treatment will follow the decision of a specific hospital in the country, and in case of refusal, no remaining annual salary will be paid’ should be added.
Communication with foreign players and mental management also need to be further refined. Problems often arise in conversations between managers and coaches dealing with injury issues and foreign players. The reality is that we lack empathy. Words cut out of context and disguised as instructions become a knife. Is there anything you can fix before criticizing people?
Korea Coach Association certified coach Jong-moon Kim coachjmoon Gmail
Jong-moon Kim is a former reporter for the JoongAng Ilbo and worked as the front desk for the NC Dinos baseball team from 2011 to 2021. At the end of 2018, he took over as general manager of the ‘last place’ team and led it to its first winning team two years later. He is currently a Korea Coaches Association Certified Coach (KPC).