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[12/4/2013] Hanshin Tigers hold press conference for Seung Hwan Oh in Seoul

by on Dec.05, 2013 @ 12:38 am, under NPB

The Hanshin Tigers held a press conference at hotel in Seoul, Korea on Wednesday and introduced their newest addition: Seung Hwan Oh.

Some notes:

  • Over one hundred members of the media (Japan and Korea) and more than ten TV cameras covered the press conference.
  • Oh introduced himself in Japanese -- Hello.  My name is Seung Hwan Oh.  I am a Hanshin Tigers pitcher.
  • Oh has been assigned the number twenty-two.  His two-year contract is said to be worth an estimated 850 million yen (including transfer fee).
  • Hanshin GM Katsuhiro Nakamura flew out of Kansai Airport on Tuesday morning and had dinner with Samsung Lions' official Sam-Bong Song.
  • Oh has turned down requests to appear in TV programs and commercials because he wants to focus on his off-season training.  His training includes bike riding and mountain climbing.  He is scheduled to leave for Guam on the 18th and has plans to work out with Chang-Yong Lim.
  • Oh is scheduled to arrive in Japan on the 10th.  A second press conference will be held on the 13th.
  • Oh wants to return to Samsung to pitch before retiring.

Source: Daily Sports 12/4/2013, Sponichi 12/4/2013, Sponichi 12/4/2013, Nikkan Sports 12/4/2013, Nikkan Sports 12/4/2013

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Daily Sports has posted portions of his press conference:

Hello. My name is Seung Hwan Oh. I am a Hanshin Tigers pitcher. (in Japanese)

I do not feel nervous about facing hitters in a new countries, I am looking forward to it.  I do not want to get greedy with my move to Japan and feel I will do well if I continue to pitch as I did in Korea, one pitch at a time.  This is something one fan told me.  They said that they cheered for me as a member of Samsung and now everyone in Korea will cheer for me.  That meant a lot to me.  I have been labeled as Korea's top closer, now I will begin things new.  I will do my best to become the best closer in Japan.

What was your approach as Samsung's closer?

You cannot fall apart just because you get hit in one game.  There are 130 games in a season.  In Japan and America, closers pitch one inning, but I did not care how many innings I pitch.  My job is to close.

How many saves would you like to record next year?

It is difficult to set a specific number, but I would like to minimize the loses as much as possible.  If I can win a save title, then it means the team also did well.  I would like to chase personal titles.

There is a chance you might be called on using a two-stage delivery.

I do not think it is a two-stage delivery.  Korea once sent footage of my delivery to the Majors and no problems were found.  Nothing has ever been mentioned to me during international games.  I think I will be fine.

Are there any games that you remember well?

I have played nine seasons.  I cannot think of any one games.  If I had to pick, I would say thing year's Korea Series.  I heard we were the first to win it after losing three in a row.  It also ended up being the last game before I head to Japan.

Why did you select Hanshin out of all the offers you received.

I was talking things over with my agent and we felt they were the best option because I could do my job and they could win a championship.  I also heard their fans were a lot more passionate than Lotte's.  If I do well, then things will be fine, but if I do poorly, I may not understand Japanese, but I will have accept the heckles on some level.  I do not think it will be a problem.

Dong-Yeol Sun comes to mind when thinking of [Korean] closers in Japan.  Has he given you any advice?

He said I would be fine if I continue to do the things I have been doing.

What do you think of the comparisons to Kyuji Fujikawa?

There are certain things about me, just as their were certain things about him.  The biggest thing is to get in there and just do my job.

You throw a fastball and slider.  Any new pitches?

I am thinking just fastball and slider.  I do not plan on changing Seung Hwan Oh's pitching style.

Are you worried about living in Japan?

Right now, I am more looking forward to it, than feeling worried.  Being able to play baseball in better conditions is something to look forward to.

Is reaching Fujikawa's forty-six saves a goal?

This is not something I can really say, but if I can record that many saves, then it means the team did well.  That fans in Korea would also be happy.

The rival Giants have a great hitter in [Shinnosuke] Abe.

I have heard that their rivals are the Giants, but we are not fighting against just one team.  It is necessary to compete with the same levels when playing against other teams.  Seung-Yeop Lee has told me about Abe and I have been thinking of ways to get him out.  When I am on the mound, I do not want to think and I do not want to hide, I want to face things head on.

Your expression does not change much when you are on the mound.

I have never really thought about it.  It is what it is.  The only thing I can say is that I will never laugh when I am on the mound.

What is the maximum number of innings you have pitched?

In terms of innings, the most I have pitched is four.  That said, if I were asked to pitch more, I would.  Closers pitch when the team really needs them.  If there are six games in a week, then I want to prepare myself so I can pitch in all those games.

Do you know what it is like in Kansai?

I have gone there a number of times.  I have heard people talking in Korean and there are stores with menus written in Hangul.  I think things will go well.  I have never been to Koshien, so I cannot wait.

Source: Daily Sports 12/4/2013

[UPDATE 12/5 @ 3:30pm]

The Tigers are thinking about setting up a separate building just for the Korean media during spring camp next year.  There were twelve TV cameras and about 120 members of the media at Wednesday's press conference.  Oh's parents were also at the press conference.  The Tigers prepared mesh jerseys to give away to Korean media personnel.

Source: Nikkan Sports 12/5/2013

The Tigers are planning to basic Oh merchandise ready before the start of the season.  They are also thinking about setting up a special section for Oh at their team store in Koshien.  The Museum of Hanshin Koshien Stadium is also deciding whether or not they should make materials available in Hangul.

Source: Nikkan Sports 12/5/2013

According to Nikkan Sports, ten is the Central League record for appearances in consecutive games.  The record is held by four pitchers: Kazuyuki Yamamoto (1975), Fumio Kubo (1983), Kyuji Fujikawa (2007), and Scott Atchison (2008).  The NPB record of eleven was set by Michio Sato in 1972.  Additionally, the consecutive saves record of twenty-two was set by Kazuhiro Sasaki in 1998.

Source: Nikkan Sports 12/5/2013

[UPDATE 12/5 @ 6:02pm]

Oh on the number twenty-one and twenty-two: "I heard that another pitcher is wearing the number [twenty-one] and taking it away from him would make him feel bad.  That is why I got [the number twenty-two]."

Source: Daily Sports 12/5/2013