KBS N Sports Baseball commentator Park Yong-taek (45) attended the 2024 KBO Rookie Orientation held at the Daejeon Convention Center on the 9th as a lecturer. He has started training the team in front of 132 freshmen from 10 clubs, including rookie and nurturing players, who are at the starting line of the KBO League. He sincerely delivered his experiences and advice on the importance of managing his body, people, mental and money as a professional baseball player, in detail.
Park, who was invited to the rookie orientation for two consecutive years since last year, said, “To be honest, a professional baseball player does not have work-life balance until he is in the uniform or until he is on the field (as a leader) even after retirement. I have never seen a player who is a good match for work-life balance and has succeeded in baseball. Giving money to players in a club means sacrificing your life a little for the team,” adding that he shared an episode with manager Kim Sung-keun, who leads the Monsters in the entertainment program “The Greatest Baseball.”
“Even after retirement, I have continued to play baseball in the strongest baseball league. Of course, I was playing it seriously, but I never enjoyed my favorite baseball (in the professional league). I thought I would do it while enjoying 20 to 30 percent of the game, but manager Kim Seong-geun came and said, “I’m not getting paid for it.” “I’m not broadcasting to make you laugh. I’m giving you money to play baseball well.” He said, “Play baseball with the mindset that you are a professional baseball player, not a retired player,” and I felt like I got hit in the back of my head. As the manager said, I am still playing baseball after retirement, even after retirement. “Even now, I think that I am a professional baseball player,” he said. “You should basically have that mindset as well.” In fact, the strongest baseball advocates the real baseball and continues to be loved by fans with real matches between retired and amateur players.
He did not spare realistic advice. “It is never helpful to hold it in even though it hurts. If there were any regrets in professional life, it is about participation in overseas leagues or the national team. I had problems with throwing balls (in outdoor defense),” Park said. “My shoulder hurt a lot in my second or third year, but I ran stubbornly. I missed the surgery and rehabilitation period after a few years. I spent more than 15 years in such a bad condition on my shoulder. Many players develop such diseases but if they get sick, it will explode someday. I need to approach the coaches with an open mind and take good care of my body.”
“In order to remove uniforms without regret, we should continue to challenge ourselves without giving up,” said Park, who also stressed the importance of privacy and fan service outside the stadium. “The growth I expect is to keep going upward, but the actual growth does not come true. Sometimes it falls, and sometimes it goes up slightly and then falls deeper. Then, at one point, suddenly, it pops up. Too many players give up just before the start. You should not give up from the beginning. Even if you fail once, you have to go up again. The result comes out, not come out,” he stressed.
Finally, Park said, “You have to shake in the strong wind, soak in the strong rain, and withstand the hot sunlight to germinate, bloom, and bear fruit. In the future, you will be hit by so many rain and wind as professional baseball players, with hot sunlight and very cold winters. There will also be dark darkness where the front seems to be hard to see, and there will be times when the end goes into a tunnel somewhere. But many seniors went through all that time and climbed to the spot. I hope they will become passionate professional Korean baseball players who will never tire.”