3:55 p.m.. Doosan pitcher Jang Won-jun walks into Jamsil Stadium in plain clothes.
His first call-up of the season. And his first start in 958 days.
It was a day full of tension. The pressure was on after 1844 days without a win. Even a pitcher with 129 career wins couldn’t avoid trembling. His head was white. I felt like a high school rookie making his debut. The tension had been building since the previous weekend when he joined the first team. An unfamiliar feeling that I hadn’t felt in countless victories. He wondered why.스포츠토토
“In the past, I had a chance after the start, and I was like, ‘If I don’t do it this time, I don’t have a chance anymore,’ so I think that’s why I was more nervous.”
Jang didn’t even see the rice wine for 130 wins that Yang placed in the dugout before the game.
A stormy second inning with a 1-0 lead passed. Jang gave up four runs on five hits and an infield error to fall behind 4-1. He was shaken up.
“I had some bad hits, and I figured if I’m giving up runs, it’s better to get into a fastball count and get a result anyway than to pitch nervously and make it harder, so I went as aggressive as I could.”
In the fourth inning, with the count over 50 pitches, the bullpen came in.
It was one of those situations where you’d think, “Is this another early exit? Is 130 wins next?
But as the left-hander set up in the dugout on the first base side, he couldn’t see the bullpen.
“I didn’t see (the bullpen warming up),” he said, “I was just thinking, ‘I’ll be ready in the bullpen in the fourth inning,’ and I wasn’t thinking, ‘I’m going to be stubborn and throw more pitches here.'”
He also didn’t see the number 140 on the scoreboard for the first time in a long time.
The two-seamer, which dug into the left-hander’s body and out of the right-hander’s, was the key to Jang’s resurgence. “When I went down to the second team in the exhibition game, coach Kwon Myung-cheol asked me to try throwing a two-seam, and I had thought about it before, but I didn’t, and then he recommended it again, so I threw it as a starter in the second team and it worked well, and it gave me confidence.”
When he came out of the fifth inning with a 6-4 lead and four runs on seven hits, the fans applauded the returning starter. But Jang didn’t even see it. “I didn’t see it,” he says, “I just thought they were cheering a little loud.”
The invisibility continued after the game.
After his on-air interview, Jang was doused with water by the junior pitchers. They gathered behind the interview board with buckets of water in their hands. Some even brought their own water. Even they didn’t see it.
“I didn’t see it. I didn’t think anything of it.”
So many scenes that would have stayed in my memory for a long time if I had seen them. Even though I missed it, I could clearly see the first win after waiting 1844 days. The 11th player in history to reach 130 wins. The veteran left-hander is 37 years, 9 months, and 22 days old.