KT Wiz outfielder Bae Jung-dae visited the Dominican Republic in December. There was an invitation from “best friend” Mel Rojas Jr., “Just take care of your health, I’ll take care of your accommodation.” Rojas has been constantly inviting me since three years ago, but this was the first time he visited.
I stayed for two weeks and took a break. I watched Dominican Winter League baseball, but it wasn’t a trip for baseball. I also exercised lightly in the gym with Rojas’ friends, but it wasn’t a trip with a grand modifier, winter training. It was a trip I just missed my friend.
It was a simple trip, but it was a journey that made Bae Jung-dae feel a lot. I was impressed by the Dominican League players who truly enjoyed baseball. Due to the characteristics of the off-season warm-up Winter League, players tend to focus on playing the baseball they want and enjoy it rather than focusing on their grades, and Bae Jung-dae said, “I felt the joy of baseball once again when I saw them.”
On the way back, I watched an NBA (American Basketball) game. I was overwhelmed by the facility and the atmosphere of 20,000 spectators. He became small as he realized the world was wide, but he also found some relaxation by looking back on himself, who was inconsolable.
Bae had an eventful year in 2023. He failed to challenge for all games (144 games) for the fourth consecutive year due to an unexpected dune fracture he suffered in an exhibition game. He returned to the battlefield in two months, but was embroiled in an untimely controversy and took time to recover his condition. Though belated, he had to take solace in his hitting spree in the second half of the year (batting average of 0.303, 66 hits, 11 steals), and the postseason (batting average of 0.375, 10 RBIs and 10 walks in 10 games).
“I think my control in life is definitely narrow,” said Bae Jeong-dae, who said, “When things don’t work out as I want, it’s not because I did something wrong, but I don’t think it’s because I’m too good to live. I try not to dwell on things that I can’t control as much as possible.” “I don’t think there is a secret in the world. If I make a proud effort to myself, I think someone will recognize me someday and I will try harder.”
Having found some leeway, Bae aims to play in 144 games again next season and is sweating profusely off-season. His participation in all games is the same as his motivation in his baseball career, so he cannot give up. “Players cannot do well all year round. I want to inherit the good energy of last fall’s baseball season even in three months, which is half of the season,” Bae said. “That doesn’t mean I will throw away the remaining three months. I will prepare well during the off-season to win the team championship.”