Choi Ji-man (32, Pittsburgh), who built up his body in Arizona, USA, where he is home, arrived at the Florida training facility prior to the official call-up day (February 21) for team spring training beasts. Having played seven years in the major leagues, he is now a veteran of his own, but it was the first time he experienced a team called Pittsburgh. He said he was naturally nervous too.
Originally, local media reported that he joined the team training on the 18th (Korean time), but Choi Ji-man said, “I did not go to the training facility on the 18th. I rented a car and prepared for camp. I went to the training facility for the first time on the 19th , I had my first training,” he corrected. However, Choi Ji-man, who went to the clubhouse in the training facility on the 19th, couldn’t help but be surprised. It was because the treatment that was so different from what he had experienced so far was unfolding before his eyes.
The placement of lockers in the clubhouse shows the ‘status’ within the team’s squad. Usually, veteran players and key players in the team have lockers in places that are easy to get in and out of. The route from the shower facility to the training field itself is short. Among them, the selected players receive their own special treatment using two lockers. The locker itself is not that wide, so it is often full of personal items, but if you use two, you can comfortably put the rest of your luggage.
Choi Ji-man is one of the few players in Pittsburgh to use two lockers. Although he is the best among fielders, only Andrew McCutchen, Carlos Santana, and Brian Reynolds receive this treatment. Coincidentally, Pittsburgh put on the lockers of Choi Ji-man, but Santana and McCutchen. There are six lockers side by side, and all three players use two. ‘veteran’
This is the first time he has used two lockers since his major league debut. Even Choi Ji-man said he was surprised to see the locker arrangement. Choi Ji-man joked, “I felt like Daewoo was a player who signed a long-term contract with the team,” but it was clear that he didn’t hate it. At the same time, he shared the memories of his first locker assignment. 메이저사이트
Choi Ji-man recalled, “I still remember the players who wore lockers on both sides when I made my major league debut with the Los Angeles Angels in 2016. There were Albert Pujols and Yunel Escobar on the left and right.” Pujols, who will remain a legendary player, as well as Escobar, who debuted in the major leagues in 2007 and played 11 years in the major leagues, were veterans at the time. Choi Ji-man recalled that time with a smile, “The two players piled up a lot of shoes, so I asked for it.”
That rookie has now grown into a veteran representing the team. In the meantime, he may have been rewarded for enduring and enduring in the minor leagues and major leagues. In fact, Choi Ji-man, who had even thought of going to Korea due to numerous setbacks, overcame the hurdles of his early years in the major leagues and went through Tampa Bay and now became a definitive major league player.
He signed a contract with Seattle in 2009 and crossed the Pacific Ocean in 2010, so he has already lived in the US for 14 years. Choi Ji-man said, “There are many young players on the team,” and said, “I think I have to lead the team with good results.” That is exactly what Pittsburgh expects from Choi Ji-man.