Former Korean major league pitcher Park Chan-ho holds his old glove at a press conference at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, March 20. Yonhap

Park Chan-ho, the first Korean ever to play in Major League Baseball (MLB), woke up Wednesday morning, ready to throw out the ceremonial pitch before a historic MLB game on home soil.But Park felt so nervous that he felt like he was about to start a regular season game, as he had done hundreds of times back in his playing days.”This is going to be such a meaningful day,” Park said Wednesday at a press conference at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, where two of his former teams, the Los Angeles Dodger and the San Diego Padres, will square off to begin the 2024 MLB season. It will be the very first MLB regular season game in Korea.”When I made my debut 30 years ago, I never could have imagined things like this would ever happen,” Park added. “I had to endure so much adversity, and I think it allowed me to grow and reach the place that I am today.” Park made his MLB debut as a Dodger in 1994. He played for the Padres from 2005 to 2006, before wrapping up his big league career after splitting his 2010 season with the New York Yankees and the Pittsburgh Pirates.When Park takes the mound for the ceremonial first pitch, he will do so with the glove he’d used in 1994.

“I took it out of my museum for today,” Park said, holding the glove up for the media. “It’s old and doesn’t look great now. But this one means so much to me. I didn’t think I would get to use it again 30 years later. I am glad I’ve been able to hold on to it.”When Park was pitching for the Dodgers in the mid to late 1990s, there were very few Asian players in the majors, with Park and his Japanese teammate, Hideo Nomo, being among the established names. This series in Seoul alone features a handful of Asian players, including the Padres’ Korean shortstop Kim Ha-seong and the Dodgers’ Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani.”Nomo and I were able to open the doors for Asian players,” Park recalled. “As you know, we have so many Asian players in MLB now. I hope to see more of them in the future.”Since he pitched for both the Dodgers and the Padres and now works as a front office adviser for the Padres, Park may have a hard time determining his rooting interest for this series.But Park said he was focusing more on the significance of the occasion than on final scores.”For me, it doesn’t matter who wins these games,” Park said. “These are historic events taking place in Korea. I hope both teams will put on the greatest shows they possibly can in front of 메이저 Korean fans.”