Yang Ji “Coach Lee Seung-yeop must have had a hard time…next year we will hear cheers”
“I’ll do my best to make coach Lee Seung-yeop hear the cheers next year,” said Yang-ji (36, Dusan Bears) after receiving the 2023 Golden Glove for catcher.
It was a moment that reminded him of his last home game of the year on Oct. 16 against the SSG Landers in Jamsil.
When Lee took the microphone after the game, some fans booed in disappointment.
In Lee’s debut season as head coach, Doosan finished the regular season in fifth place and exited the fall stage with one game to play in the wild card round.
“(Lee) didn’t show it to us, but I think he suffered a lot,” Yang reflected after the ceremony at the COEX Auditorium in Gangnam-gu, Seoul.
“I think he did a good job (as a coach) this year and it was a successful season because the team that was ranked ninth the previous season played fall baseball,” he said, adding, “I think (this year) will be a stepping stone and we will be one step stronger next year.”
With the win, Yang moved into sole possession of second place, just one behind Lee (10) for most career awards.
Yang said, “I don’t think I’m at the level of the coach yet. I will work hard until I quit baseball and be evaluated later,” he said.
Yang also holds the record for the most Golden Glove wins by a catcher (eight) and the oldest catcher to win the award (36 years, 6 months, and 6 days).
Nevertheless, Yang is not without regrets.
It was his first year back with Doosan from the NC Dinos, so there was some pressure. He also didn’t have enough time to prepare for the season due to his participation in the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March.
“I think my performance this year was a bit lower than what I’ve been doing for the past few years,” Yang said, “but I’m confident that I can do better next year because I can prepare for a longer period of time.”
The pride in the catcher’s mask was still there.
When asked if he would still be able to see his children play catcher when they are in middle school, Yang Ji laughed and said, “I think it will be a bit difficult,” but he vowed to stay healthy and work hard so that he could show them how he retired as a catcher.
“I thought I would only be able to make my first-team debut, but I have won such a big award eight times,” he said, adding that he is most grateful to his parents. 슬롯게이밍