Awesome Kim’s influence is “above imagination he became an idol for Asian Americans

The popularity and influence of “Awesome Kim” Kim Ha-sung (29) of the San Diego Padres were beyond imagination. Beyond simply becoming role models for Korean baseball players, he has also become an idol that impresses Asian Americans who were underprivileged.

KGTV, a local broadcaster in San Diego, California, said on March 29, “Kim Ha-sung’s success is inspiring young Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI).”

It is clear that Kim Ha-sung is enjoying a lot of popularity among San Diego fans. Even if you watch local broadcasts in the U.S., “Ha-sung Kim” chant continues whenever Kim Ha-sung enters the batter’s box and produces results.

This was confirmed at the 2024 regular season game between the San Diego Padres and the San Francisco Giants on March 31. Lee Jung-hoo hit a superior solo shot off Tom Cosgrove as the lead-off hitter at the top of the eighth inning against the San Diego Padres on Sunday. It was his first four-base hit in three games after he made his Major League debut after signing a six-year, 113 million-dollar contract with the San Francisco Giants.

Lee’s first homerun in the Major League Baseball was easier than expected in exchange for three autographed balls and a hat. Interestingly, Lee’s family picked up Lee’s homerun ball and his son was a San Diego fan who moved to San Diego from the Bay Area, where he is based in San Francisco. “I’ll tell you my story later (Ha Sung Kim) as I’m having dinner with him.”

It may not be surprising to hear that San Diego children’s fans say they like Kim Ha-sung, who has recently become popular. However, according to a report by KGTV, Kim Ha-sung’s influence was greater than expected.

KGTV said, “Kim Ha-sung is loved by young baseball players playing in the San Diego area, and according to those youth players, Kim Ha-sung represents a new possibility for the AAPI community.” He added, “Young players and their parents feel that Kim Ha-sung is changing the game for them (against minorities) both on and off the field.”

I could feel that in interviews with players. Joshua Asuncion, an amateur baseball player, said, “Kim Ha-sung is an Asian player like me. His performance makes the Asian community want to see him play and follow in his footsteps.”

“I felt like I was a minority,” said Aoshima Kazuki, a youth baseball player. “To me, Major League Baseball feels like a very inclusive sport, and I don’t think anyone discriminates. Someday, as an Asian player, I want to be one of those people (such as Kim Ha-sung) and play with players from all over the world, regardless of race.” Aoshima’s mother, Anbo, also said, “It is proud to see players like Kim Ha-sung, who look like us as minorities, play at the top of the table. Their play makes their son watch TV and see them aspire and try as they do.”

Kim Ha-sung joined the Major League in 2021 after signing a four-year contract worth 28 million U.S. dollars with the San Diego Padres through the posting system. He didn’t get much popularity from the beginning. In his first year as a backup infielder, he recorded a batting average of 0.202 with eight homers and 34 RBIs with an OPS (on-base plus slugging) of 0.622 in 117 games, which had many negative expectations towards the end of the 2021 season.

However, even San Diego Padres President A.J. Preller, who had been watching and scouting Kim Ha-sung for a long time, showed surprisingly better-than-expected growth. In 2022, when he played as the starting shortstop due to Fernando Tatis Jr.’s shoulder injury and illegal drug punishment, he showed an improvement with a batting average of 0.251 with 11 homers, 59 RBIs, 58 runs and 12 steals, and an OPS of 0.708. Notably, he was one of the three finalists for the Gold Glove Shortstop category in the National League in defense.

It was the Los Angeles Dodgers and the 2022 National League Division Series that stole the hearts of San Diego fans, although Kim Ha-sung had been gradually gaining popularity through stellar defense and aggressive defense. In the same year, the San Diego Padres (89 wins and 73 losses) advanced to the Championship Series by beating the Los Angeles Dodgers (111 wins and 51 losses) in the Division Series. The result was unexpected for the San Diego Padres, which lost all six of their regular-season showdowns.

In particular, Kim Ha-sung played a decisive role in the come-from-behind victory by hitting a timely RBI double on the left-field line in the bottom of the seventh inning of Game 4 of the NLDS with San Diego trailing 1-3. At this time, the scene where Kim Ha-sung reached second base and roared was also posted on the official major league website highlights, which enjoyed a lot of popularity.

Last year was a career-high season. Having won the Gold Glove Utility Award in the National League, he became an indispensable player who can sign a contract worth 100 million U.S. dollars as an All-Star in ball and field with a batting average of 0.260 with 17 homers, 60 RBIs, 84 runs scored with 38 stolen bases and an OPS of 0.749. In response, Freller told reporters at the Seoul Series on April 17, “When I scouted Kim Ha-sung, I expected him to become a good player in both defense and offense. However, I realized that we underestimated him at the first spring camp since joining the team.”

“Kim Ha-sung is getting better and better every year in every aspect. He has become an influential defender not only in our team but also in the Major League Baseball. This is evidenced by his winning Gold Glove award last year. Notably, his defense exceeded our expectations early on,” he praised.

He is still showing stellar performance this season, which could be his last one in the San Diego Padres. On the same day, Kim Ha-sung sent the San Diego Padres into a frenzy. At the 2024 Major League regular season game against San Francisco at Petco Park, Kim started as the fifth batter and shortstop, and garnered three hits (one homer) and three RBIs, one walks, three strikeouts, and three runs from four times at bat, spearheading his team’s 13-4 victory. He significantly raised his batting average for this season from 0.167 to 0.273.

They are fully aware of what kind of influence they have and move responsibly.

BY: 토토사이트

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