“He said he wanted me to think of it as a steady progression rather than a climb.”
Kim Ha-seong, 28, of the San Diego Padres, won the Major League Baseball (MLB) National League Gold Glove (GG) award for utility player on June 6. He was the first Korean player to win the award, and the first Asian infielder to do so. There is no shortage of praise for the best infielder in Korean baseball history.
He wasn’t always the best. Kim has always experienced competition, and his rise to the top has been a constant one. During his Yatap Go days, his junior, Park Hyo-joon, stole the spotlight. He entered the KBO with the 29th pick in the third round of the rookie draft. He wasn’t a rookie of the year, but he got better every year and hit his first 30 home runs in the big leagues.
This is because he has always been a vertical player. For Kim, his first season in the MLB (batting .202 with eight home runs) was a setback. He confessed that he was unable to cope with fastballs that exceeded 160 km/h, causing him to lose his hair. It was the first fall from grace for the perennial standout.
“All my life, I thought there was only up and down in sports (baseball), and that (I) had to go up,” he said at a press conference to celebrate his Gold Glove award on May 20. “I had a big failure in my first season in MLB. It was the hardest time in my career. I played baseball with the idea that I had to go up, so I couldn’t handle it when I fell.”
I changed my perspective. I realized it was a pause, not a fall. Thanks to the experienced advice of San Diego advisor Chan Ho Park. Chan-ho Park has seen much more failure than Ha-sung Kim. He got to the MLB sooner than Kim, and he failed in his first year. He had to work hard to make it to the big leagues. After his free agency, he struggled again with poor performance and a back injury. Instead of giving up, he worked hard and achieved his goal of 124 wins in the big leagues.
“Park Chan-ho told me that he wanted me to think of it as a steady progression rather than a climb,” says Kim. “He said that it’s not about falling, but about stopping for a while and then moving on. That advice really helped me get through the long season.” 보스토토 도메인
True to Park’s words, Kim persevered, and while his progress may have been slower than in the KBO, he adapted and grew. In his third year, Kim has been a Silver Slugger candidate in the utility player category, with 17 home runs and 38 stolen bases this season, not only on defense but also at the plate. He’s also a natural No. 1 hitter in San Diego, where he’s joined a stacked All-Star lineup that includes Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis, Xander Bogaerts and Juan Soto. It’s all thanks to stopping and starting.