“The first time I took the mound in 14 days was 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th. I stopped it and got on the bus, but I cried. Is there any meaning in playing baseball like this?”

A bleak future faced at a considerable age, a sincere expression that anyone can relate to. Kang Li-ho (33) conveyed his honest feelings.

On the 3rd, Kang Ri-ho had time to communicate with baseball fans about his situation and the intention of declaring his free agency despite the risk of losing a child through his SNS live broadcast.

What Kang Ri-ho especially wanted to clarify was a misunderstanding with Lotte Giants fans. He repeatedly emphasized “Thank you for the love of Lotte fans” in the broadcast preview and during the broadcast.

Kang Ri-ho explained, “I was ashamed of myself for not being able to play baseball.” It is the same as what he revealed after the 2021 season. He pitches in 50 to 60 games a season if he is a one-point relief. However, Kang Yun-gu only digested 21⅓ innings in 29 games last year.

Even at the time of his professional debut, Kang Ri-ho was one of the top 3 prospects in Seoul that year along with Lee Hak-joo and Seong Young-hun. Expectations were high for him, who was a left-handed pitcher with a 1m83 physique and threw a 150km fastball. He was a player that the Heroes, who sent away star stars such as Lee Taek-geun and Jang Won-sam, tied them to ‘absolutely impossible’.

However, as a result, the season did not live up to expectations. In 2012, when he recorded an average ERA of 4.08 with 4 wins and 7 losses in 27 games (21 starts) and 6 wins, 6 losses, 7 holds and 4.36 in 41 games (17 starts) in 2013, the future was expected. However, the two seasons remained Kang Ri-ho’s career highs.

Kang Ri-ho wanted more opportunities to participate regardless of his position. He pitched once every 1-2 weeks and pitched less than 1 inning.

After the 2022 season was over, after receiving the club’s proposal to freeze the salary, he was upset with his own reality. “If I go out now, I will definitely lose my child,” he refused to dissuade Seong Min-gyu and declared free agency. 스포츠토토

Kang Ri-ho said in a live broadcast that day, “All baseball players aim for the FA jackpot. It is everyone’s dream. I have never spent a single day in (pro) baseball for 14 years.” I wondered if it would be meaningful to go out once. What should I do when I finish doing this three times, four times?”

Also, “I haven’t been sick since 2020, but my velocity has dropped. I struggled. I wondered if it was right that I was a pro. Lotte is the 1st team in average velocity. There are many pitchers with fast fastballs.” There is no compensation because it is a free agent, so if there is a team that needs it, I was determined to try again.”

Regarding the controversy over the so-called ‘holding rights’, he explained, “I did FA, but I thought it was meaningless to negotiate annual salaries. I didn’t mean to leave Lotte after a year. I thought the team would catch me on better terms if I did well.”

Kang Ri-ho said, “I couldn’t find a team until January and told my agent, ‘I think I have to stop. I don’t think there will be a place in the pros.’ It is a waste of the skills I have learned so far,” he added. “I love and thank the Lotte fans who listened to me. I will think a little more carefully,” he said.

Kang Ri-ho is the name he changed from Kang Yoon-goo in January. At the time, he explained, “Hasn’t he ever played baseball well (professional) while using the name Kang Yun-gu? He wants to do well with a new name.” On this day, Kang Ri-ho explained that in addition to the KBO league, he is also perusing foreign leagues such as independent baseball, Mexico and Taiwan.

Kang Ri-ho’s live broadcast at 9:00 pm was watched by many Lotte colleagues in real time. Park Se-woong, Han Dong-hee, who represent pitching, Lee In-bok, Lee Hak-joo, Kim Min-soo, Go Seung-min, and Kim Joo-hyun shared candid confessions from former colleagues and seniors.

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