‘7→8→8→7’ Sung Min-kyu process ‘ultimately fails’ again this year, Lotte fans’ wait grows longer

October 11, 2023 | by

It’s a report card similar to Lotte’s dark ages. The fruits of manager Sung Min-kyu’s labor have yet again failed to materialize this year.

The Lotte Giants suffered a 0-7 shutout loss against the LG Twins of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on Tuesday. With the loss, Lotte has been eliminated from the postseason this season regardless of the outcome of their remaining five games.

This is Lotte’s sixth consecutive fall baseball disappointment after qualifying for the semifinals with a third-place finish in the regular season in 2017, and is reminiscent of the franchise’s dark ages, which began with an eighth-place finish in 2001 and resulted in seven consecutive postseason exits: 2002 (8th), 2003 (8th), 2004 (8th), 2005 (5th), 2006 (7th), and 2007 (7th).

Lotte were the favorites at the start of the season

In fact, Lotte was the most anticipated team in the Stobriga this season. In October of last year, parent company Lotte Holding gave the baseball team its full support with a 19 billion won capital increase.

Starting in the winter, Lotte signed ace Park Se-woong to a five-year, up to $9 billion contract, followed by Yoo Kang-nam (4 years, $8 billion), Noh Jin-hyuk (4 years, $5 billion), and Han Hyun-hee (3+1 years, $4 billion), totaling $26 billion in free agent signings.

As if the signings and rebuilding efforts were paying off, Lotte started the season on a winning note, finishing first in the league. In particular, the team stayed at the top of the league until May, which led to the coined phrase “TOP DE” among fans.

However, Lotte saw a sudden drop in the middle of the season, and by the end of July, they had fallen to sixth place. Since then, they have been unable to make the leap to the top five.

Sung Min-kyu’s managerial process ‘fails’ again this year, but how long will fans have to wait?

As of the morning of Nov. 11, Lotte is in seventh place in the league with 66 wins, 73 losses and a winning percentage of 0.475 in 139 games. With five games remaining, the team is four games behind sixth-place KIA and has a good chance of finishing the season in seventh place. 메이저사이트

Sung Min-kyu took the helm of Lotte in 2019 after the resignation of former manager Lee Yoon-won. However, Sung’s report card has been less than stellar.

After finishing seventh in 2020, eighth in 2021, eighth in 2022, and seventh this year, the voting process for Sung has effectively ended in failure again this year. In particular, two of Sung’s appointees, Heo Moon-ho and Larry Sutton, resigned in succession.

Still, the team’s rebuilding program, which was emphasized by manager Sung Min-kyu, showed some results. Na Kyun-ahn’s success as a pitcher and young hitters like Yoon Dong-hee, Son Sung-bin, and Kim Min-seok have become the mainstays of the batting lineup.

But Lotte fans are already thirsty. They need results now. Along with Lotte, the LG Twins, the KBO’s most popular team, clinched their first regular season title in 29 years earlier this month and are basking in the glow of a direct trip to the Korean Series, looking to win their first title since 1994.

Lotte, on the other hand, last won the title 31 years ago in 1992. They have been without a championship for the longest among the KBO’s 10 teams. The long wait for a title means the wait for Busan fans has also been long.

During Lotte’s run at the beginning of the season, their home stadium, Sajik Baseball Stadium, was packed to capacity every day. The love for Lotte in Korea is strong. Lotte’s entry into fall baseball shouldn’t be delayed any longer. When will the “long-term vision plan” promised to fans by team president Sung Min-kyu be realized?


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