Former Japanese professional baseball player Seiichi Uchikawa (41), who has three WBC appearances, emphasized the importance of veterans to the Japanese national team. 안전놀이터
Uchikawa is an outfielder who joined Yokohama as the first pick in the 2000 draft and retired last year. In 2011, he became the second batting champion in both leagues in NPB history, and participated in the WBC three times in 2009, 2013, and 2017 with the Japanese national team. He appeared in 2022 NPB career games, recording 2186 hits and 196 home runs with a batting average of 0.320.
Japan, which won gold medals at the first WBC in 2006 and the second at the 2009 WBC, is aiming for its first WBC title in 14 years. Major leaguers such as Yu Darvish (San Diego), Shohei Ohtani (LA Angels), Lars Nuba (St. Louis), and Seiya Suzuki (Cubs) were summoned en masse.
Japanese media ‘Sports Hochi’ published an interview with Uchikawa on the 24th. Uchikawa said, “What I strongly felt through the three WBCs, each in a different position, was the need for a leader. We need someone who can be the center and talk about how the team will move.”
In the 2009 WBC, Ichiro took over the role. It is said that he suggested to national team coach Tatsunori Hara, “Let’s not practice fungo during away games.” Uchikawa revealed that Inaba Atsunori in 2013 and Aoki Norichika in 2017 played the role, emphasizing that “the presence of someone who makes anyone decide to follow that person says is great.”
Uchikawa continued, “This time, there are many first-time players on the national team, but there is no need for young players to put too much pressure on them. The same goes for home run king Munetaka Murakami. I wish I had it,” he asked.
Uchikawa’s remarks are eye-catching in that they contradict the opinions of SSG outfielder Choo Shin-soo (41), a player of the same age as him. On the 21st, Choo Shin-soo appeared on ‘DKNET’, a Korean radio station in Dallas, Texas, and emphasized the need for a generational change in the national team.
Choo Shin-soo regretted the elimination of Ahn Woo-jin (Kiwoom) and Moon Dong-ju (Hanwha) and said, “In Korea, just look at Kim Hyun-soo. In fact, it is true that many players do not go to ramen, and there should have been many new players. Until when are Kim Gwang-hyun and Yang Hyeon-jong? Didn’t there be an article in Japan saying ‘Kwang-hyun Kim is there again’?”