The 2021 professional baseball season will take off on April 3rd. Last year, there were many difficulties carrying out the games due to COVID-19. As COVID-19 is prolonged, there were many changes in professional baseball. All professional baseball clubs are carrying out their overseas spring camps in Korea. KIA Tigers also began its spring camp on February 1st in Gwangju and Hampyeong. It’s the first spring camp taking place in Korea in 30 years since the Jeju-do camp in 1991. They are training hard to win the season under the customized schedule for the new environment. This season’s KIA Tigers is stronger than ever and is on its way to meet the fans. Here’s the all-new 2021 KIA Tigers.
The first things you can notice are the emblem and uniform. KIA Tigers changed their club CI, logo and uniform early this year. The new ‘KIA’ logo was applied, and colors were changed. The new logo and uniform show the legitimacy and tradition of this prestige club that won the Korean Series 11 times as well as the team’s promising will for victory. The ‘KIA’ logo in the emblem represents balance, rhythm, and rise. The ‘V’ pattern, which represents the home base and victory, is also in there. The background color for the emblem was changed to Tigers midnight black. The word mark includes Tigers live red color, which is brighter than the previous color. This is to reflect the sophisticated and future-oriented club while also carrying out the tradition. The red and black contrast represents the hot passion of the players and fans and the prestige of the best KBO club.
Let’s look at the uniform too. The word mark on the home uniform is now black, along with the new KIA logo. The V line on the back of the uniform which represents victory is also in Tigers midnight black, to express intensity. The new away uniform shows bold division in black and red as main colors; the V line that fills the space between the two colors is in white, to contain the message of ‘passion’ and ‘victory.’ We can’t wait to see the KIA Tigers players dominating the field in their new uniforms.
KIA Tigers’ strategy for this season is solid. Aaron Brooks, who was much loved by the fans for his exceptional play last season, will continue to play for the fans this year. Aaron Brooks played 151.1 innings in the 23 games last season and ranked 3rd among all starting pitchers with 11 wins, 4 losses, and average earned run of 2.50. He ended the season a month earlier than others as his family member had a car accident but still managed to show great performance; his performance this season is much anticipated for good reason.
Aaron Brooks recently joined the spring camp and gave out bracelets with the word ‘#WWMB36’ engraved on them to the team members. The initials represent Aaron Brooks’ family, which were used among the KIA Tigers players when Brooks’ family member had a car accident last year and they posted get-well-soon messages on their SNS. Aaron Brooks expressed his gratitude towards the KIA Tigers club and their players and said, “I will play all the games I can this year with the goal of achieving 20 wins and contribute to our team making it into the fall baseball season”.
Left-handed batter Preston Tucker will also play this season; he achieved the amazing record of 30 home runs-100 hits-100 scores last season, which was a first for the club. This year he is expected to do great on the bat as well as on the defense. He is training hard in his new position, first baseman.
The news of a new foreigner pitcher Daniel Mengden is also well received. Last year on December 25th, KIA Tigers recruited Daniel Mengden, a right-handed pitcher from major league. With his wild pitching form, he is known for great fast balls that range in the 140km+/hr speed. His stable throws allow for various breaking balls such as cutter, change-up, curve, etc. He’s also adjusting quickly to KIA Tigers as he has played with Aaron Brooks and Preston Tucker before in the same team. The Brooks and Mengden combo are likely to be awesome this season.
Who are some of the Korean players we should look forward to this season? First of all, there’s the last season batting champion Choi Hyung-woo. He’s back in the KIA Tigers uniform via the FA contract. He’s expected to contribute greatly to the team’s attacking capacity with his consistent performance. Na Ji-wan will be the captain this season, which is a first for the player since he joined the club. He is expected to be the center of gravity among the cleanup trio. There’s also Choi Won-joon, who showed off how good his batting was last season. He’s sure to be take on the ‘leadoff’ role. There’s also great anticipation for Lee Chang-jin and Ryu Ji-hyuk, who are coming back from injuries and are expected to play full time.
The pitchers are receiving lots of attention, as well. Lim Ki-young and Lee Min-woo, who spent last season as the 4th and 5th startings, are working out to prepare this year as starting pitchers. The return of Kim Yoo-shin, who had many wins in the Futures League and was ranked no. 1 during his time serving the army, is also great news. Kim Yoo-shin will be a big contribution to the team’s mound as he resolves the issue of insufficient left-armed pitchers. Kim Hyun-soo, who built up experience on the field as a starting pitcher is preparing the season as he works on his main pitch? the curve ball? to make it sharper. Jang Hyun-sik is also in the final stages of his preparation with his overwhelming throw. Will the new pitchers? Lee Eui-lee and Park Gun-woo ？ get to be called ‘monster rookies’ by the end of the season? Cheer for the ever stronger and solid KIA Tigers mound.
To train well regardless of the cold and deteriorating weather conditions, KIA Tigers club prepared cold-resistant & wind-resistant facilities at the Gwangju-KIA champions Field and the Hampyeong KIA Challengers Field to maximize indoor training space. Players are able to train well despite the cold weather thanks to such facilities. Also, as they get to train in Korea, they are able to spend more time with their families during off days, which makes them focus on the training with an easier mind. KIA Tigers players are spending each day of their spring camp well as they await the days to be back on the field, making the fans happy. If you are wondering how the players are doing during the spring camp, check out the KIA Tigers official YouTube channel!
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