Lotte Giants captain Ahn Chi-hong had only responsibility in his head. After his professional debut, he is about to obtain his second FA (free agent) qualification, but he is in a position to forget everything else and focus only on team performance.메이저놀이터
On the 30th, right after the rain canceled the match against Hanwha Eagles in Daejeon, Ahn Chi-hong conducted an official interview with reporters on the spot as Lotte captain. After the sudden resignation of former coach Lash Sutton on the afternoon of the 28th, the atmosphere of the team was inevitably confused, and he first expressed his sorry feelings toward Sutton.
An Chi-hong said, “If we had done a little better for Sutton, this (resignation) would not have happened, but I felt very sorry.” It is. I talked about raising the atmosphere with the players.”
Lotte is going through a dark period, failing to advance to the postseason for five consecutive years until last year. Ahead of this season, catcher Yoo Kang-nam (4 years, 8 billion won), shortstop Roh Jin-hyeok (4 years, 5 billion won), and pitcher Han Hyun-hee (3+1 years, 4 billion won) dreamed of leaping forward with a large-scale investment to recruit three free agents. As of today, with 50 wins and 58 losses, they are in 7th place, 5 games behind the 5th place KIA Tigers.
Lotte’s start to the 2023 season was perfect. By May, he recorded a win-loss margin of +10 with 27 wins and 17 losses, and was ranked 3rd alone. It trailed the LG Twins in 1st place by 2 games and SSG Landers in 2nd place by 1 game, and was ahead of the 4th place Doosan Bears by 4.5 games. Lotte’s Sajik home game was filled with crowds, and it looked as if it would catch both rabbits in terms of performance and box office success this year.
However, from June, the fall like a lie began. They accepted the shocking report card of 9 wins and 16 losses in June and 5 wins and 12 losses in July. It kept its 5th place until the All-Star break, but after the start of the second half, it failed to rebound with 12 wins and 19 losses, and the decline continued.
In addition, the health of Lotte coach Larry Sutton has deteriorated. Coach Sutton returned home before the home games against SSG Landers on the 13th and KT Wiz on the 27th, feeling unwell and unable to command the game. On the afternoon of the 27th, he expressed his gratitude to the club, and on the afternoon of the 28th, Sutton’s resignation and the management of the remaining season of Lee Jong-woon’s acting manager were officially announced.
An Chi-hong is heartbroken over everything from the poor performance of the team to the resignation of manager Sutton. However, he showed a strong will not to give up fighting in the top 5, emphasizing that he had to do his best as a professional player until the end.
An Chi-hong said, “Acting coach Lee Jong-woon said that we should overcome it together with the players as it is not a situation that he can do alone. He asked us to try to raise the atmosphere with veteran players, including me.” There was (fall baseball) and there is still a chance. I think that the performance and performance will change if the team atmosphere rises.”
As the cause of Lotte’s rapid decline, he cited ‘burden’ and ‘fear’. After the spring camp went smoothly, they shed a lot of sweat to advance to the postseason this season, but at some point, they diagnosed that the players couldn’t overcome the tension.
An Chi-hong said, “At the beginning of the season, I think the performance was good because the players collided without being conscious of the burden, fear, and result. Compared to when it was good, the players felt pressure and were less active. I think I have a little bit of fear,” he said, “I can still see it as being late, but I still have a chance, so I want to overcome my fear for the rest of the season.”
He made it clear that he would stop thinking about free agency. After the end of the 2019 season, An Chi-hong left the KIA Tigers, where he had been involved for 10 years, and signed his first free agency contract with a contract period of 2 + 2 years and a total of 5.6 billion won. Now, four years later, An Chi-hong’s value is valid. His batting average of 0.297 this season, 106 hits, 6 homers, and 53 RBIs with an OPS of 0.778 is still above league average.
An Chi-hong said, “Personally, this year is an important season,” but “Because I am the captain, I think more about whether the overall idea of the team can go well than I do personally. I want to do my best for the team’s performance until the end of the season, not empty words. “he added.