24th, Gocheok Sky Dome, Seoul. Yokishi’s farewell autograph session before the game. A female fan with her family asked the interpreter to “tell him we’d love to see him again”. Yokishi was grateful and smiled as he said “thank you” over and over again.
The Kiwoom Heroes had a beautiful farewell to Yokishi after five years together. The event organized by the club before the game against Doosan on the 24th was a perfect example of how to honor a foreign pitcher who had become like family.
Then, there were more impressive moments. The reason for Yokishi’s release was a thigh adductor tear. His shoulder and arm are still healthy. Fans were eagerly hoping that Yokishi would return next season once he was healthy. Many fans who approached Yokishi at fan signings, as well as those who watched the game from the stands, tearfully mourned his departure.
One young fan approached Yokishi with a “home run ball,” the stadium’s signature snack. Yokishi was touched by the sad expression on the child’s face as she handed him the snack. Home run balls seem to be a snack more suited for hitters, but it didn’t matter.
The day Yokishi left, Kiwoom got a new foreign pitcher, Ian McKinney. As soon as he got his visa, McKinney was called up to the first team. He was scheduled to start the next day (the 25th) with no time to settle in with the second team. Yokishi reportedly spent time meeting with his replacement to help him get up to speed. It’s a rare sight. 메이저사이트 It speaks volumes about how Yokishi feels about Kiwoom.
Sitting in the stands with his wife, father-in-law, and two children, Yokishi cheered on his team until the end of the game. When Furado took the mound in the ninth inning, he watched nervously, as if he were on the mound himself. When Furado finally came off the mound with one out in the ninth, Yokishi applauded him with a wistful look on his face.
After Keum’s victory, Yokishi stood up from his seat, holding his second son Vaughn, and gave him a long standing ovation. Until the moment of his departure, Yokishi remained true to Kiwoom.
Yokishi has appeared in 12 games this season, going 5-3 with a 4.39 ERA. That’s a far cry from his 56-36 record and 2.85 ERA in 130 games over five seasons in the KBO. However, if Yokishi can heal his injuries and recharge his batteries, he can still be competitive in the KBO.
Will Yokishi return to the KBO next year? “I’m going to go back to the U.S. and focus on my rehabilitation and see how it goes. NEVER is not a word for me. I don’t want to say anything about the future,” he said, hinting at a return.