“Oh~ Ahn Kwon-soo~ Lotte’s~ Ahn Kwon-soo~ Oh~ Ahn Kwon-soo~ Ahn Kwon-soo~ Ahn Kwon-soo~ Oh~”
Busan Sajik Stadium on Nov. 11, the final home game of Lotte’s regular season. Although Lotte missed the postseason for the sixth consecutive year, the team celebrated the “beauty of the season”메이저사이트 with a 14-3 victory over Dusan.
After the game, Lotte players took to the field to greet the fans. The Lotte fans chanted Ahn Kwon-soo’s name, and the microphone naturally went to his hand.
In fact, it was a foreshadowed farewell. Ahn, a third-generation Korean-American, played in the Japanese independent league before deciding to move to Korea. After participating in the 2020 KBO Draft, he was selected by Doosan in the 10th round, fulfilling his dream of playing in Korea. However, Doosan removed him from the roster after last season. According to the Korean-American Military Service Act, Ahn can play in the KBO until this year. The only way to extend his active duty is to join the military. Nevertheless, Lotte took a chance on Ahn.
Ahn quickly established himself as an atmosphere maker for Lotte. He was the loudest player in the dugout. But in June, Ahn had to take a hiatus after undergoing surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow, and Lotte lost its momentum.
Time passed quickly. Ahn Kwon-soo returned in late July, but Lotte’s momentum had already tipped. In the end, Lotte failed to make the postseason, and Ahn Kwon-soo gave a de facto farewell speech at the home finale, saying goodbye to the fans.
“I don’t speak Korean very well,” Ahn said with a smile as he took the microphone. “Thank you so much for your support this season,” he said, unable to hold back tears as he was overcome with emotion. Lotte fans sang Ahn’s cheer and wished him all the best for the future.
After the ceremony, Ahn Kwon-soo took a photo with his teammates to immortalize the moment. Kim Min-seok, who stayed with him in the dormitory, was moved to tears by the thought of parting ways with Ahn Kwon-soo.
What plans does Ahn have for the future? “I would like to play baseball in the future. But I have no intention of playing baseball in Japan, so I’ll have to think about it after the season.” “If I were alone, I would have thought about joining the military and continuing to play baseball. But I have a family, so it’s not an easy decision. I have to talk to my family about what to do,” he said, adding that he is thinking about his future residence.
For Ahn, the four years he spent in Korea will remain a lifetime of memories. “I was born in Japan and lived only in Japan, so I was afraid to come to Korea at first, but I had a really good experience living in Korea for four years. I made a lot of friends,” he said, adding, “All of my colleagues were really good to me, especially the juniors, so I wanted to show good behavior until the end.”
In particular, Yoon Dong-hee and Kim Min-seok, whom Ahn Kwon-soo shared a room with, are two of his closest juniors. When Yoon Dong-hee was selected for the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games, Ahn Kwon-soo was more than happy than anyone else. Ahn said, “(Yoon) worked harder than anyone else this year. Everyone works hard, but I think Dong-hee managed herself better than anyone else. I will also miss (Kim) Min-seok, who lived in the hostel with me.”
“He was like a friend to me,” said Kim Min-seok, who played his first professional season. “I had only been playing outfield for a year, but when we defended together in the outfield, he took care of me even when I couldn’t see the coach’s signature and said, ‘Take your time,’ and he always told me the problem in the hostel if I wasn’t hitting well. I also remember them buying me a lot of food,” he said.
“I think Lotte fans are really passionate,” said Ahn Kwon-soo, who expressed his gratitude to Lotte fans for their constant support throughout the year. “I thought we could make the postseason and even win the championship because of the players’ performance from spring training. But there were more injuries than I thought, and I was one of them. I feel very sorry for them. Honestly, my elbow was very sore,” she said.
Lotte now has just four games left. The day when Ahn Kwon-soo will leave Lotte is getting closer and closer. Although he only spent one year with Lotte, it seems that he will be able to leave with a lot of precious memories.