The first task of the World Baseball Classic (WBC) national teams in Korea and Japan is to adapt to the official ball. Korean KBO uses Skyline and Japanese NPB uses Mizuno ball. The WBC official ball (pictured) is the Rawlings ball used in the major leagues. Compared to domestic league balls, there is a common feeling in both Korea and Japan that it is “big and slippery.”
Japanese media Tokyo Sports reported on the 8th that Rocky Sasaki (22, Chiba Lotte), who achieved a perfect game last year, could suffer from finger blisters because of the WBC official ball. The slippery ball requires a stronger grip, which increases the risk of Sasaki’s chronic blistering injury recurring. Sasaki started the 2019 U18 Baseball World Cup match against Korea, but he only threw 19 pitches and went down due to a blistering injury메이저놀이터. He was also substituted midway through the season last year when he suffered a blistering injury.
Each pitcher has a different feeling when throwing the same ball. Matsui Yuki (28, Rakuten) told Sponichianex, “I feel uncomfortable when I throw a pokeball,” and “it seems to come out of my fingers later than the Mizuno ball.”
Keiji Takahashi (26, Yakult) said in an interview with the Mainichi Shimbun, “It is more difficult to control a straight ball than a breaking ball.” Ryoji Kuribayashi (27, Hiroshima), a candidate for finishing the Japanese national team, said, “I’m worried because the ball rotation is low.”
The pitchers of the Korean national team, who are sweating in each team’s field training, are also busy adapting to the WBC official ball. He is trying to get used to bullpen pitching with the WBC official ball. It is also evaluated that the ball is slippery and the seam is low. Other than Kim Gwang-hyeon (35, SSG) and Yang Hyeon-jong (35, KIA), who played in the major leagues, other national team players do not have much experience throwing Rawlings balls in practice.
Last month, the KBO delivered the WBC official ball in advance to the pitchers who are likely to be on the national team and ordered them to adapt quickly. Jeong Cheol-won (24) of Doosan said, “I threw the WBC official ball both times in bullpen pitching.” There will be no big problems.” The first question that NC Goo Chang-mo (26) asked the new foreign pitchers on the team he met in Jeon Hoon-ji, Arizona, USA was about the WBC official ball. He received insightful advice, such as differences between spheres and usage tips.
It’s not just the pitchers that are the problem. Catchers and infielders who need to throw frequently also need to adapt to the ball. In a close match, one mistake can decide the outcome. Which of the Korean and Japanese national teams adapts better to the official ball is not a small variable in the WBC match on March 10th.