| A high school baseball coach told me this story few years ago.
A middle school student was a baseball player. He had potentials and was offered scholarship to have him play at the school. He was poor and had only grandmother. The baseball coach knew his dire situation and gave him pocket money to encourage him train hard. The student soon upgraded his ability and his performance was better than expected. When he was in 11th grade, a man appeared claiming to be his father. He said he saw his son in a newspaper. A father who abandoned his son for a long time, the man wanted to make his son advance into the U.S. The coach dissuaded the father, who ultimately sent his son to the U.S. after he heard that he could get more than 1 U.S. million dollars as contract money. After then, the father seldom contacted this son. The son still plays at the minor league. Had he cultivated ability in Korea, he could have become a star player.
Since mid 2000s, high school baseball players have increasingly been going to the U.S. According to Korean Baseball Organization, six in 2008 and nine in 2009 went to the U.S. None of them are at the major league, however. The reason for the rising number after a plunge since 2002 is due to brokers who enticed parents with huge contract money and to earn money themselves. Many people in the baseball industry voiced concerns. They were worried about the future of young athletes. Declining number of star players in the country was not the main reason. There young people have difficulty communicating with others in foreign land, and capability can`t be upgraded due to lack of focused and systemic training.
After peaking in 2009, the number of high school baseball players entering the U.S. plunged. In 2010 and 2011, there was only one player who signed with a major league club. There was none last year. Baseball regulations restrict players who advanced overseas without playing in a domestic pro league becoming a player and coach when they return to Korea. The lesson that no player succeeded in the U.S. also played a role.
High school baseball coaches say that an increasing number of players and parents want to try out for U.S. major league due to remarkable play by LA Dodgers` Ryu Hyun-jin. It is a concern that parents may chose to send their sons there recklessly.
Ryu at an interview with the Dong-A Ilbo said, "It believe it is right to experience seven to eight years in domestic pro league first and then advance into the U.S. Without full physical strength, players will face difficulty in adopting to the U.S. baseball style (that is different from Korea)." Going to the U.S. does not guarantee becoming a major league player. Parents who want to foster their children into players like Ryu should bear this in mind.