Advice is helpful only when the level is right. Kensuke Kondo (30, Softbank), a former colleague of Shohei Otani (29, LA Angels), could not hide his bitterness.
Japanese media Full Count published an interview with Kondo, who returned to training for his team after participating in the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) on the 28th. 먹튀검증
After debuting with Nippon Ham in 2012, Kondo is called a Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) top hitter with a career batting average of 0.307 and an on-base percentage of 0.413. Ahead of this season, his value was recognized when he signed a 7-year, 5 billion yen (approximately 50 billion won) contract with Softbank.
In particular, he was selected for the WBC due to his strengths in contact and pioneering, and contributed to Japan’s rise to the top as the main right fielder with a batting average of 0.346, 1 home run, 5 RBIs, 9 runs scored, and an OPS of 1.115. In the Korean game, he also left an impact, such as hitting a home run against Won Tae-in.
Even for him, Ohtani, whom he had reunited with after a long time, had become a wall he could not overcome. Kondo and Ohtani played together for five years at Nippon Ham from 2013 to 2017. Even at that time, Ohtani was the best player, being selected as the best nine in both pitcher and hitter, and being voted MVP. However, Kondo explained that the gap widened even more after he entered the major leagues in 2018.
Kondo said, “I was 10 times more surprised than I imagined. As Yu Darvish (San Diego) said, Murakami seems to be the most shocked. I was really surprised,” he said. After that, Ohtani’s advice didn’t seem to help me. He said something I really couldn’t understand.”
It is evaluated that Ohtani has definitely moved on to the major leagues and has grown a step further. By 2020, after going through trial and error, such as undergoing elbow ligament joint surgery (Tommy John surgery), he began to show proper batting ability from 2021. In 2021, he won the American League MVP unanimously, and last year also ranked second in MVP. In this WBC, as a batter, batting average 0.435, 1 home run, 8 RBIs, 9 runs scored, 1 base, on-base percentage 0.606, slugging percentage 0.739, OPS 1.345, as a pitcher, pitched in 3 games (2 starts), 2 wins, 1 save, ERA 1.86, 9⅔ innings After recording 11 strikeouts, he was named MVP of the tournament.
The level gap widened further, but there were also things that didn’t change. Kondo cherished his memories, saying, “Otani was still the same. It was the same as when he was in Japan.”