SUWON, South Korea, The Korean Series games between the LG Twins and the KT Wiz are being played in frigid conditions typical of this time of season. At the start of Game 3 at 6:30 p.m. Friday in Suwon, just south of Seoul, the temperature was measured at 4.3 C, making it the second-coldest game on record in the history of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) championship round. The mercury dipped to near freezing as the game progressed.
Austin Dean, a Texas-born slugger for the Twins, isn’t much different from his teammates or opponents here, in that he’s battling the cold conditions the best he can, whether it’s blowing his hands between pitches or wearing a neck warmer.
Austin Dean of the LG Twins hits a three-run home run against the KT Wiz during Game 3 of the Korean Series at KT Wiz Park in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, on Nov. 10, 2023.
But you wouldn’t know that from watching him during practice. For the past two days, Dean was the only player on either team taking batting practice and ground balls in short sleeves, while everyone else was decked out in hoodies and jackets.
“I’m just trying to let everybody know that I’m tough,” Dean said with a smile before Game 4 of the Korean Series at KT Wiz Park. “It’s all a facade.”
Dean said this isn’t the coldest weather he’s experienced in his career. In a Double-A game once, Dean recalled playing in 19 F, or about -7 C.
“It’s still pretty cold out here,” Dean said. “It’s an adjustment. It’s a mind over matter kind of thing.”
Dean’s bat, in the meantime, has been hot so far. He leads the Twins with a .417 average, five hits and five RBIs through three games.
Austin Dean of the LG Twins celebrates after hitting a three-run home run against the KT Wiz during Game 3 of the Korean Series at KT Wiz Park in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, on Nov. 10, 2023.
Dean hasn’t looked the part, but he revealed that he was a nervous wreck before the start of the Korean Series on Tuesday, barely able to sleep the previous night.
“Honestly, it was a lot of jitters, a lot of emotions. But I think once I kind of soaked it in a little bit, nerves kind of went down,” Dean said. “I’ve never experienced anything like this, especially with how the crowd is and just the emotions that I’ve been feeling the last three games. It’s nuts. It’s hard to put into words, honestly.”
Austin Dean of the LG Twins speaks to reporters before Game 4 of the Korean Series against the KT Wiz at KT Wiz Park in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, on Nov. 10, 2023.
And with the sacrifice that his family is making, with Dean still playing ball at a time when he would otherwise be in the offseason, Dean said he wants to make it all count with a championship in the end.
“I could be home with my family and just be in the offseason. But I’m here, and as long as I’m here, we’re going to win this thing,” Dean said. “This is a big sacrifice for me and my family to still be here and just kind of take time away from our families, but I wouldn’t want it any other way right now. This is what I’ve always wanted to experience, being part of postseason baseball. So I want to at least win this thing.”
Source: Yonhap News Agency