Every professional baseball player dreams of playing in the Korean Series.
However, the weight of the desire varies depending on the footsteps of the player.
NC Dinos captain Son Ah-seop, 35, the most experienced player in the postseason, is just one win away from his first Korean Series appearance as NC leads the best-of-five playoff series against KT Wiz 2-0.
Son, who made his debut with the Lotte Giants in 2007, defied the odds and donned an NC uniform after the 2021 season.
After playing for Lotte for so long, he decided to move to NC for one reason: a championship ring.
After missing the postseason in 2022, his first year with the team, and having a down year himself, Son won his first batting title this year with a .339 batting average.
The team went on a winning streak in fall baseball this year and reached the Korean Series for the first time in three years.
Son, who is experiencing his first postseason in six years after playing for Lotte in 2017, continued his steady play, batting .400 (5-for-2) in the wild-card decider, .308 (13-for-4) in the semifinals, and .333 (9-for-3) in the playoffs.
During the semi-playoffs against SSG Landers, he said, “The Korean Series is still a long way off. If I do my best every day, I think I can get there,” said Son, who is ready to shed some hot tears if NC wins the third game of the playoffs against KT on April 2.
On the pitching staff, Lee Jae-hak (33) is the only player who has been a part of the Korean Series.
The pitcher of NC’s historic first-team victory in 2013, Lee missed NC’s previous two Korean Series, in 2016 and 2020.
In 2016, he was embroiled in gambling allegations that ultimately led to his exclusion from the postseason roster, and in 2020, when NC won its first championship, he struggled and did not make the postseason roster.
This year, he bounced back, and this postseason, he was used in long relief, going 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in three appearances in the Wild Card and Playoffs.
In the third game of the semifinals against SSG, he was hit on the back of the hand by a hard-hit ball, but fortunately escaped serious injury and joined the playoff roster.
“I haven’t been able to help much in the postseason so far, so this year I will try to help the team reach the Korean Series,” Lee said.
NC, which lifted the Korean Series trophy just three years ago, has undergone significant changes to its roster.
Only six players have played in the 2020 Korean Series: Kwon Hee-dong, Kim Sung-wook (outfield), Park Min-woo (infield), Kim Young-kyu, Song Myung-ki, and Lim Jung-ho (pitchers).
Kim Hyung-jun (catcher) was on the roster for the Korean Series but did not play.
KT was pushed to the brink by the NC surge, dropping games 1 and 2 of the playoffs.
Most of the starters in the playoffs were members of the team that won the Korean Series two years ago.
Park Byung-ho (37), who will be wearing a KT uniform in 2022, has yet to win a Korean Series title.
Kim Sang-soo (33), a member of the Samsung Lions dynasty, has multiple championship rings, but his last appearance in the Korean Series was in 2015.
KT is desperate for a win and will look to these veterans to turn the tide in the playoffs. 파워볼사이트