Years of resentment washed away.
When you think of the names of Josh Bell, James Loney, Justin Bohr, Rio Ruiz, and Lobel Garcia, it’s easy to see why “foreign hitters” were a taboo word in the KBO. But there’s someone who has broken that longstanding nightmare. This is Austin Dean, 30, LG’s biggest hit of the year.
An icon of unbridled passion
I was worried when I signed him. It wasn’t the best move. Abraham Almonte, our first signing, was our next choice after a medical test revealed a problem. I couldn’t help but feel a little nervous.
It was a fluke. He’s the perfect star player: skill, personality, and fan service. As of the 19th, he was batting .317 (80-for-252) with nine home runs, 48 RBIs, and an OPS of 0.875. He leads the team in batting average and RBI, and is second in home runs and OPS. He has become indispensable.안전놀이터
On the 18th against Doosan in Jamsil, he hit his first inside-the-park home run in the KBO, and his roar after sweeping home plate with a head-first slide made LG fans’ hearts sing.
“I’ve always been passionate about baseball,” he said. It’s encouraging to feel that passion even more with LG,” he smiled. “Even though the language is different, I can get along with my teammates because we have a common language of baseball. That’s what makes us more competitive,” he added.
“The veterans like Kim Hyun-soo and Oh Ji-hwan take really good care of me. As a result, I was able to integrate into the team without feeling too much pressure despite the curse of being a foreign hitter,” he said.
LG’s Austin Dean is interviewed after the win with his son. Photo by Sports World DB
A-grade character shines in ‘K-Bench Clearing’
The first bench clearing of the season took place on April 16 against Doosan. Yang Seok-hwan was hit in the shin by a ball thrown by Yoo Young-chan, and players from both teams poured out after a minor altercation with catcher Park Dong-won.
It wasn’t a serious situation. It was a typical “Korean” bench-clearing, with lighthearted exchanges. But Austin, who was used to the “American style” of bench clearing, where fights can actually break out, was the only one who got excited. He was also passionate about protecting his teammates.
“I’m always ready to put myself out there for the team, so that’s where it comes from,” he says. I don’t want you to get the wrong idea, I’m not a fight person. I just wanted to protect my teammates,” he explained. “Later, I heard about the KBO’s bench-clearing culture, and I was excited because I didn’t know about it. I also want to take this opportunity to apologize to Doosan. Next time, I will try to control my emotions as much as possible,” he smiled brightly.
LG was eliminated from last year’s fall baseball season due to a lack of outfielders. This time around, they have Austin as the final piece of the puzzle. “I don’t care about my individual performance. My team, the LG Twins, is the most important thing to me,” and he is determined to win the team championship.