It was 15 years ago in 2008, and 15 years later in 2023, the youth national baseball team abuse controversy is still going strong. Sung Young-hoon, a sore finger for Doosan Bears fans, sent a warm message of support to Kim Taek-yeon, who was caught up in a five-game bullying controversy.
In 2023, the Korean Under-18 National Baseball Team, led by Lee Young-bok (Chungam-go), won a bronze medal at the World Youth Baseball Championship.메이저놀이터
However, apart from the bronze medal, the team’s five-game batting streak sparked controversy. Kim Taek-yeon threw 54 pitches in relief against Chinese Taipei on Sept. 2, took a day off, and then threw 15 pitches in relief against Australia on Sept. 4.
After a day of rest on the fifth, Kim threw 21 pitches in relief against Puerto Rico on the sixth before the game was suspended due to rain. Kim took the mound for the resumption of the suspended game against Puerto Rico on the 7th and threw 19 pitches before finishing the game.
Kim also pitched 16 pitches in relief of starter Hwang Jun-seo against the United States in the Super Round on Aug. 8. After three consecutive appearances, Kim threw 24 pitches in relief against the Netherlands in the Super Round on the 9th.
Following the four-game streak, her dream of a “five-game streak” became a reality. Kim took the mound for the bronze medal game against the United States and threw a total of 98 pitches through the seventh inning. He threw a total of 178 pitches in five days, an unrealistic feat in 21st century baseball.
Kim Taek-yeon’s pitching log for the Korean National Youth Baseball Team
Day 2 Taiwan 54 pitches
3 days off
Day 4 15 pitches against Australia
5 days off
6th Puerto Rico 21 pitches
Day 7 Puerto Rico (Suspended) 19 balls
8th USA vs 16
Day 10 98 pitches against USA
A total of 247 pitches over the nine-day tournament.
Kim will likely be selected by Doosan, which holds the second overall pick in the 2024 KBO First-Year Player Draft on September 14. If Kim does end up in a Doosan uniform, we can only hope that he is healthy enough to prepare for his debut season next year.
In fact, Doosan fans may be looking at Kim with a bit more concern because there are already cases of players who have been involved in controversies over the abuse of the youth national team and failed to blossom in the professional ranks. A prime example is pitcher Sung Young-hoon, who was involved in the 2008 youth national baseball team abuse controversy.
In 2008, Sung was selected for the national youth baseball team and pitched a one-inning relief appearance against Mexico on July 26, an 8.1-inning start against Australia on July 27, a nine-inning start against Chinese Taipei on August 1, and a nine-inning start against the United States on August 3. Though it was billed as a barnburner at the time, Sung retired after the 2018 season after a lengthy injury and surgical rehabilitation after being drafted by Doosan in the first round in 2009. His career record in the first team was 2-1 with a 4.18 ERA in 25 appearances.
After retiring from active duty, Sung began his amateur coaching career. Currently, he is a pitching coach at Seongnam Masong Middle School, where he focuses on developing younger players.
When contacted by MK Sports, Sung was cautious to share his thoughts on the Kim Taek-yeon five-strikeout controversy.
“Fifteen years ago, I volunteered to go up on the mound and throw a lot of pitches, and at that age, if you’re not too sick, you naturally want to throw on the big stage. Kim Taek-yeon would have been more motivated because she could win a medal. She may be fine now, but I hope she will take better care of herself for the future. I threw the ball from the youth national team to the national championships, and it was devastating. I still regret that I didn’t throw the ball more at that time,” he said, reflecting on his unfortunate past.
“I still sometimes throw the ball in my dreams. In my dreams, my shoulders and elbows feel so good, but when I wake up, my shoulders and elbows hurt so much. Everyone has regrets, but let’s put them behind us and start anew,” he wrote, touching the hearts of his fans.
Coach Sung started his amateur coaching career because he wanted to prevent the same unfortunate case from happening again.
“Even now, I can’t throw bats to kids because my arm hurts (laughs). I was going to leave baseball completely, but I wanted to prevent cases like mine from happening again, so I became an amateur coach. If I think the kids are overdoing it, I stop them and restrain them.”
Finally, Coach Sung gave Kim a warm message of support. “I’ve watched her pitch a few times on video, and she has a really good delivery, so I really hope she can throw the ball for a long time and be healthy, unlike me. If I take care of my body thoroughly from now on, I’ll be fine. I heard that you might go to Doosan in the upcoming rookie draft. If he wears a Doosan uniform, I hope he can give Doosan fans all the joy I couldn’t give them.”