Updated July. 18, 2014 07:30
Nexens Park Byeong-ho is the hottest hitter in the Korean Baseball League (KBL). He holds the most home runs record for the past two consecutive years and won MVP award in the formal league. However, he never won an MVP in the All-Star game. Last year, he recorded no hit in two at bats in the All-Star game. In 2012, he wasnt even selected for All-Stars. In the home-run race, Park lost to Na Ji-wan of KIA in the last year`s semi-final.
In here lies why Park wants to be "Mr. All Star," MVP of the All-Star game on Friday. Park has been in a slump with batting average of 0.150 in July. If Park becomes the star of stars for the first time in his life, it can be a turning point to boost his batting records.
The fact that 30 out of the past 32 "Mr. All Star" were all hitters also increases possibility for him to win the Mr. All Star. In the first place, a pitcher cannot throw balls longer than 3 innings in the All-Star games, which makes hard for pitchers to make an impressive scene. Another burden for pitchers is to face best hitters in the league. Jeong Myeong-won (then Taepyeongyang player), Mr. All Star in 1994, pitched 3 perfect innings and Kim Si-jin (current coach of Lotte), another MVP of All Star Game in 1985, recorded scoreless 6 innings in the Game 3, which included 3 innings without hit and run (In 1985, 3 games were played in the All-star Game).
Victory or defeat of a baseball game is determined by "one big blow." Thanks to such characteristics, a foreign hitter might become Mr. All-Star this year. Tyrone Woods (45), who played for Doosan Bears in 2001, is the only foreign player in KBL who won MVP honor in the All-Star game. The driving force that helped him won the MVP award was a homer. During offense in the top of the 1st inning, Woods hit a home-run to the right field against Hyundai Lim Seon-dong (41). Based on team, Lotte players are in the most favorable position. Among the past Mr. All-Stars, 14 (43.8 percent) are from Lotte starting from Kim Yong-hee (59) in the original year of KBL (1982) to Jeon Joon-woo (28) last year. Considering the fact that the runner-up Kia produced only 6 MVPs in the All-Star game, even including its old team Haetae, it is fair to say that Lotte players are quite good at All-Star games.
Meanwhile, the Futures (minor league) All-Star game and the qualifier of home-run, planned to be held on Thursday in Gwangju, were postponed to 18 because of rain.