Energized by the Icon of Strength…even the Commander-Ace was impressed.

Kim Tae-gun (33-KIA Tigers) is an icon of grit. In 2015, the first year the KBO played a 10-team regular season, he was the only catcher in the league to play all 144 games. His fighting spirit inspires his teammates, and he’s outgoing enough to reach out to other teammates and create a jovial atmosphere.

Kim has also energized the KIA bullpen. He became a member of the KIA team after swapping jerseys with infielder Ryu Ji-hyuk (Samsung Lions) on the fifth, starting as the starting catcher against the SSG Landers on the sixth, and has held down the fort for four consecutive games without being replaced, showing good chemistry with his new teammates. The KIA pitching staff posted a 1.50 ERA in four games with Kim as the starting catcher.

I was impressed with the ace. Yang Hyun-jong, who formed a battery with Kim Tae-gun in the SSG game on the 6th, said, “I don’t usually play catcher, but I was worried at first because I was working with him for the first time. But because he’s a very experienced catcher, he was able to lead (the pitcher) well.”

Yang Hyun-jong pitched five innings of one-run ball in the game, but admitted that “my slider wasn’t very good in the beginning of the game.” Kim Tae-goon reduced his slider signature from 10 in the first inning to none in the second. After the game, Kim said, “I realized that my slider wasn’t working as well, so I utilized my four-seam fastball and changeup more.”

After the inning, Kim continued to talk to Yang in the dugout. He asked for feedback on his pitching form and overall pitch mix. Yang said he felt confident in Kim.

Lee Yi-ri, a third-year left-handed pitcher who started in Suwon against the KT Wiz on Aug. 8, also expressed his gratitude to Kim Tae-gun. “He talked to me a lot and helped me feel comfortable,” Lee said after the game, referring to Kim Tae-goon, who pitched five innings of three-hit ball to earn his seventh win of the season (five losses). “He helped me not to think about anything else.메이저놀이터

On the day, Kim often showed Lee a gesture of pointing his finger at the ground. It was a way of telling him to go for the low ball without hesitation. “Kim advised me to throw with an arm swing that feels like a slash from top to bottom,” Lee says. My fastball was still high, but my slider and curve seemed to be working well,” Lee explained. Lee rebounded from his previous outing (June 27 against the Kiwoom Heroes), where he gave up six runs in four and two-thirds innings, with the help of Kim Tae-gun.

KIA manager Kim Jong-kook was pleased. He praised Kim for his clutch performance, which included four straight games with an RBI from his first appearance (against SSG on June 5), and the way the veteran catcher led the younger players. “I think the pitchers have gotten comfortable with Tae-gun (Kim). The younger pitchers in particular seem to rely on him more.”

Kim also wears red long socks when he plays for Samsung, which is known for its blue uniforms. “My first son is a red monkey (born in 2016), so I’ve been wearing red items ever since,” he explained. After just a few games, Kim Tae-gun was able to integrate into the Tiger Army, saying, “I think KIA’s red uniform suits me quite well. We have a lot of young pitchers with fastballs in the high 140km/h range. I will try to guide them to throw with confidence.”

Kim was nicknamed “Taegun Mama” for his performance at last year’s All-Star Game, where he ran around the field in a gonryongpo. This year, the nickname has been revived by Kia fans as expectations have risen.

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