“Thanks to my brother (Kang) Min-ho.”바카라
Samsung Lions outfielder Koo Ja-rook, 30, looked a lot different at the KBO League All-Star Game at Sajik Stadium in Busan on 15 April. His image as an aloof “chado-nam” (cold city man) was replaced with a smile as he greeted fans and teammates. During the game, he even prepared a special performance to entertain the fans.
After being told that he looks like Minzy, a member of the popular girl group Newzine, Gu Zaruk dressed up as Minzy for the All-Star Game. His long hair, dark make-up, and “Oh, brother!” when his balls were caught made fans laugh. “I’m a very introverted person, so I prepared for the performance with the idea of giving my soul,” said Koo.
It was a festival for baseball players, an event free from sexual stress, but it was different from his usual self. When asked by a reporter if he had “brightened up a lot,” he replied, “I always try to brighten up lately.” “I learnt a lot from (Kang) Min-ho, and his advice, ‘We play (baseball) because we love it, so don’t make an impression and be cheerful,’ helped me a lot,” he explained.
Samsung’s Kang Min-ho, Lee Jae-hyun, and Kim Hyun-joon. Courtesy of the Samsung Lions
Samsung’s Kang Min-ho and Kim Hyun-joon. Courtesy of Samsung Lions
Kang Min-ho, 37, is one of Samsung’s most veteran players, but he’s also a mood creator. He tries to keep a cheerful face in the dugout and on the field, and is often the first to congratulate and encourage younger players when they perform well.
But Kang Min-ho is not all light-heartedness. When Samsung went on a losing streak last month, it was he who organised a team meeting to try and lighten the mood. Samsung pitcher Won Tae-in, 23, said, “When the mood was low, Min-ho was there to cheer us up. It was a place where we could say things we couldn’t say to each other. Thanks to him, I think the atmosphere was a little better afterwards.”
“Minho is the one who sets the tone in our team. He always emphasises the positive and instils confidence in us.” “As a junior, I have a lot to learn from him. I want to become a player like him in the future.”
Koo Ja-rook at a fan signing at Sajik Stadium in Busan on 15 May. Courtesy of the Samsung Lions
For now, Samsung is still languishing at the bottom of the table, but they’re showing signs of life with four wins and six losses in their last 10 games. “There is no place to fall further. We will play more boldly. The condition of the younger players is improving, which is positive,” he said, vowing to rebound in the second half.