National team stablemate Yang Yang-ji (36, Dusan), who is called “half of the power,” shared his thoughts on stepping onto Changwon NC Park for the first time since his transfer. Yang’s face was full of emotions, including excitement, happiness, and regret.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Changwon,” Yang said before the first game of the 2023 KBO League against NC at Changwon NC Park. This morning, I went to a restaurant I used to frequent and ate, so I feel like I’m in better shape (laughs).”
The three-game midweek series between NC and Doosan is also known as the ‘Yangji Match’. This is because Yang-ji, who was an NC stablemate for four years starting in 2019, will be playing his first game in Changwon after joining Doosan.
“I think the excitement is the same as when I met NC in my bedroom. Yesterday, I didn’t sleep well and woke up early in the morning to go around,” he said, adding, “I wish I could have come to Changwon sooner, but I think I’ll be able to play more comfortably if I say hello to them because I have some burdens on my mind.”
He also said that he felt very sorry for the 안전놀이터 NC fans. During his four years of living in Changwon, not only he but also his family had met good people and received a lot of help.
Yang Ji said, “I feel very sorry for the NC fans. Not only me, but my family as well, met a lot of good people and stayed close to them while living here, and it was sad to say goodbye. I have a lot of close friends in Changwon,” he said. “I also feel like I won my first championship. I’m very grateful, but I think I’m more sorry.”
He left a lot of footprints after joining NC as a free agent from Doosan in 2019. In 2020, he led NC to its first overall title and was named the Most Valuable Player of the Korean Series, leaving a lasting impression on NC fans. In fact, in his four years with the NC, Yang played in 519 games, batting .322 with 103 home runs and 397 RBIs.
He also talked about facing off against NC’s native ace, Koo Chang-mo. However, he was removed from the first team roster to rest due to injury concerns. He was unable to play that day.
“He promised to throw me a fastball, but I think he knew I had a good bat, so he didn’t include me (in the first team),” Yang smiled, “I talked to him on the phone yesterday and told him to come back quickly.”