His singing ability has been recognized on TV programs and recognized by many people. However, his determination to show better performance on the field is deepening. This is the story of Choi Joon-yong (23), the team that needs to win the game.
Choi Jun-yong met with Star News at Sajik Baseball Stadium in Busan on the 17th and said, “When I go out on the street, I recognize that I’m a Masked Singer rather than ‘I’m a baseball player,’ and I want to be a player who plays baseball well and recognizes me at the awards ceremony this year.”헤라카지노주소
Earlier this year, Choi Joon-yong participated in the MBC entertainment program “Mystery Music Show Masked Singer” under the pseudonym of “The Heart That Won’t Be Broken” (hereinafter referred to as Masked Singer) and advanced to the Gawang competition by winning the event. Although he has proved his singing skills on various broadcasts, he has been able to show his singing skills to the whole country in popular programs.
The purpose of the Masked Singer’s program itself is to judge only by singing skills, beating all conditions, but even so, it was unprecedented in the program’s history for non-singers and non-celebrities to be ranked so high. In particular, the characters Choi Jun-yong faced were all singers, including Shin Ji-hoon, Park Jung-eun, and fromis_9’s Lee Seo-yeon. The caption even said, “The reversal of the all-time history of the Masked Singer.”
“I never thought I would make it (to the King’s game) until I left. I knew I would lose from the first round,” Choi said. It would be the same because Hong Seong-heun (47) had advanced to the second round by a former baseball player. Other cast members including Lee Jong-beom (54), Yang Joon-hyuk (55), Jeong Keun-woo (42), and Eric Thames (38), but failed to pass the first round. “I was lucky to keep making it, and that’s the result,” Choi said.
After the show aired, his colleagues showed a playful reaction to Choi. “They don’t call me by my name. They say ‘Don’t go to the middle,'” he said with a smile. “We are talking a lot about episodes on ‘King of Mask Singer’ and how we should play baseball this year.”
Although he made his name known through “King of Mask Singer,” the fact that he did not recognize him as a baseball player gave him a big boost. Notably, Noh Si-hwan (24), a senior at Kyungnam High School who swept the year-end award ceremony last year by ranking No. 1 in home runs (31) and RBIs (101), is his goal. “I thought Si-hwan was so cool, and I will do my best to become such a player,” Choi said.
For Choi, the 2023 season was a season that gave him frustration and hope at the same time. He showed difficulties in condition from last year’s exhibition game, and eventually got off to an unexpected start, being eliminated from the opening entry. Appearing in the first division for the first time against NC in Changwon on April 21, he pitched well in nine consecutive games without losing a point, but went back to the second division due to injuries such as mid-May. After his comeback in mid-July, he stayed on the mound until the end of the season without canceling the entry, and in the final 47 games, he recorded two wins, three losses and 14 hold-ERA of 2.45.
Looking back on the season, Choi simply summed up his disappointment. “I was thinking what it would have been like to do what we showed in the second half from the first half.” Choi recorded one loss, three holds and 1.59 ERA without a win in 13 games in the first half, and two wins, two losses, and 11 holds and 2.72 ERA in 34 games in the second half. His ERA was much better in the first half, but his hit rate decreased from 0.319 in the first half to 0.248 in the second half.
Choi Jun-yong struggled in the first half as the power of his fastball, which boasted a maximum speed of 150 kilometers per hour, could not be revived. In response, he tried to break the deadlock by adding a sweeper. “Coach Kim Hyun-wook told me to throw it by telling me the grip, and it worked right away. I practiced more and used it right away in the game,” he said. Coach Kim also helped Choi recover his ball power and helped him perform in the second half.
The Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC), which was selected thanks to the revival of the second half of the year, served as an opportunity to inspire confidence in himself. Choi Joon-yong said, “I went to APBC and asked the fielders, ‘How is the ball?’ and they said, ‘I feel like I’m playing ball when I’m good,’ so I threw it with more confidence.” Recognized by APBC national team hitters, who gathered the best players at the same age, he pitched two ⅓ innings in two games and struck out two without losing any points in the main game.
After suffering an injury in the first half of the year, Choi once talked about turning into a batter. “I’m not confident that I won’t get sick (while serving as a pitcher),” he said at the APBC camp. “I didn’t practice typing (at APBC), but I typed it because the coach (Ryu Joong-il) told me that he missed me,” he said.
After overcoming the happening, he is now focusing on the mound again. “After returning to the APBC, my coach and coaching staff recognized my pitching value, so I have been practicing hard with the mindset that ‘Let’s prepare well,'” Choi said. “I will do my best to throw balls at the mound without regret and play a leading role in Lotte’s advance to the fall baseball league.”
After graduating from Gyeongnam High School and joining Lotte in 2020, he pitched in 190 games in four seasons with 9 wins, 11 losses, 15 saves, 48 holds and an ERA of 3.50. He showed promise in 31 games in the first division since his first professional season, and played in 44 games in 2021, with 4 wins, 2 losses, 1 save, and 20 holds with an ERA of 2.85. As a result, he achieved the feat of ranking second in voting for the Rookie of the Year award after Lee Eui-ri (KIA Tigers). In the 2022 season, he took the finishing position amid the injury of Kim Won-joong (31), and played a major role with nine saves and an ERA of 1.23 during the month of April.