The Seoul Series will mark the ninth time that the MLB season has opened outside the United States and Canada, and the first time in five years. Kim, who was born in Bucheon, South Korea and played seven years in the Korea Baseball Organization, mostly with Nexen Heroes and Kiwoom Heroes, is happy that fans from his homeland will see Major League Baseball for the first time.
“I know it’s going to be their first Major League Baseball game. So I’m happy for everybody,” Kim said through interpreter Leo Bae. “They are super passionate about baseball. They know how to watch baseball, too. They are serious about it. They love the sport.”
Kim, 27, couldn’t pick his best moment while playing in the KBO. He said every day that he played in his home country was special. Kim put up strong numbers while playing in the KBO, batting .294 and averaging 19 home runs and 82 RBIs per season.
“I don’t have a specific favorite moment,” Kim said. “I remember all the games I played there. I can recall everything. I would say all the moments were great. I played hard, and I’m proud of it.”
Now, Kim is the everyday second baseman for the Padres, and he has shown the world that he can produce in the United States. He has some pop and can steal a base. His defense isn’t bad either; he’s made just four errors this season. In fact, entering Sunday’s action against the Phillies, Kim leads the Padres in Wins Above Replacement (4.2), according to Baseball-Reference.
Last year, while playing shortstop, he helped guide the Padres to the postseason. He was second on the team behind Manny Machado in bWAR (5.0). No doubt, Kim is proud of what he has accomplished in the United States.
“I’m proud on a daily basis that I’m playing Major League Baseball. It’s such a blessing,” Kim said. “I will always feel fortunate that the Padres gave me the opportunity to play in the big leagues, and I’m able to meet these great teammates and people in the organization. I try not to let down these people. I go out there to do my best and show them what I have.”