“645 wins in Doosan alone.” On the day he met Kim Tae-hyung’s parents, a bright smile met with his disciples. → “I have no personal feelings.” Calm about the game

March 13, 2024 | by

It was the first exhibition game with his former team, which he had been playing for 30 years. Lotte Giants manager Kim Tae-hyung (57) met with the Doosan Bears.

Kim and Lotte held two consecutive home games against Doosan in the 2024 Shinhan SOL Bank KBO League exhibition game at Sajik Baseball Stadium in Busan on the 11th and 12th. On the first day, Doosan won 3-0, and on the 12th, no rain game was declared in the top of the fourth inning when Lotte was leading 1-0.

This series attracted attention as Kim will have a showdown with Doosan. Kim was once a symbol of Doosan. Kim joined the team in 1990 after being drafted by OB, the predecessor of Doosan in the 1988 rookie draft, and served as Doosan’s coach from 2015 to 2022. Excluding the battery coach of the SK Wyverns (currently SSG Landers) for three years from 2012, he spent 30 years alone at OB-Dusan.

In particular, Doosan became the champion of KBO league in the late 2010s. In 2015, his first year in charge, Doosan finished the regular season in third place and passed the semi-playoff (Nexen Heroes) and the playoffs (NC Dinos), before beating the Samsung Lions with four wins and one loss in the Korean Series. In the following year, Doosan won 93 games, the most in a single season in KBO history, and achieved the overall championship.

Kim, who was the runner-up for the next two years, won the regular league title by reversing a whopping nine games in 2019 and secured his third championship by beating Kiwoom in all four games. Until 2021, Kim had remarkable achievements by advancing to the Korean Series for a whopping seven consecutive years. He has won a whopping 645 games in Doosan alone.

Kim, who served as a commentator for SBS Sports last year after failing to renew his contract with Doosan in 2022, wore the Lotte uniform with a three-year contract period and a total of 2.4 billion won (600 million won in down payment, 600 million won in annual salary) ahead of this season. It was the second time in 21 years that Lotte recruited a coach who has won the Korean Series with another team in 2022 since former coach Baek In-cheon (winning LG in 1990).

It was the first time for Kim to use the first-base dugout in Sajik Baseball Stadium instead of the third-baseball court. “Yes, I did it over there (third base), but I did it over here…” Kim smiled before the game against SSG Landers on the first day of the exhibition game on Sunday.

Ahead of the match against Doosan on Sunday, Kim greeted Doosan players, coaching staff and front desk. Min Byung-hun (37), a TVING commentator from Doosan, also welcomed the team with a big smile. Seeing the people he met for the first time in a long time, Kim smiled brightly.

Coach Kim said, “I don’t have any personal feelings, and that’s the difference in wearing the uniform.” Coach Kim, who met his students during Doosan’s time, including Huh Kyung-min, Jung Soo-bin and Kim Jae-hwan, said, “It was nice to see them all,” especially toward Coach Koji Goto, who returned to Doosan last year, saying, “I caught them when I said I would go back to Yomiuri, and it was very nice to come to Korea.”

Lee Seung-yeop (48), Kim Tae-hyung’s predecessor and successor of SBS Sports commentator, did not seem to give as much meaning as possible. “It’s not the season yet. Interest will increase during the season, but now is the process of practicing since the camp and thinking about season strategies, and nothing else,” he said.

The winner is the winner, and Kim brought out the lineup, which is close to the best. At the game on Sunday, Lotte started with Yoon Dong-hee (right fielder), Ko Seung-min (left fielder), Noh Jin-hyuk (striker), Victor Reyes (designated hitter), Yoo Kang-nam (catcher), Na Seung-yeop (first baseman), Kim Min-sung (third baseman), Park Seung-wook (second baseman), and Hwang Sung-bin (middle fielder). Excluding Kim Min-seok and Han Dong-hee (broken internal oblique muscle), who are injured, and Jeon Joon-woo, who is out of the lineup to protect players, the team is in the starting lineup.

Doosan won the first game on the first day. Doosan, which had Heo Kyung-min’s sacrifice fly in the first and third base chances in the second inning, added a run with Park Joon-young’s solo homer in the third inning. Then, Jung Soo-bin’s RBI triple in the fifth inning pushed his team to 3-0. Foreign starters Raul Alcantara (five hits and no runs in three ⅔) and Brandon Waddell (five strikeouts and perfect in four innings) displayed good pitching and started checking ahead of the season’s opening.

Lotte had only five hits, showing lackluster performance in its batting lineup. It was comforting that starting pitcher Aaron Wilkerson allowed four hits, one strikeout and two runs in four innings, and the bullpen allowed one run in five innings. However, there was also a dizzying scene in which Koo Seung-min, who took the mound in the top of the ninth inning, collapsed after being hit in the shoulder by Kim In-tae’s pitch. Fortunately, Koo got up without any major injuries.

When asked if it bothered him because it was a game against a friendly team, coach Kim met again ahead of the game on the 12th, he laughed, saying, “My nerves… I took out all the players in the beginning…” He said, “Now even the players who didn’t go out have to go out and do it,” and revealed that he did not have any special mercenary skills when he met Doosan.

Still, Kim Taek-yeon, a high school graduate of Doosan who pitched in the ninth inning against Lotte the previous day and recorded two strikeouts and no run in one inning, said, “It was good. Throwing a ball in the late 140km/h range is good. Players who can be nominated for the first round have enough pitching power to throw right away from the first team.”

Lotte scored the first run on the day. Reyes, a foreign hitter, hit a fastball by Doosan starter Kim Min-gyu from the bottom of the first inning to create a 130-meter solo arch. Lotte led 1-0 until the bottom of the third inning and rushed to victory 노래방알바.

However, the rain that had been gradually falling since noon has intensified as the game progressed. Eventually, the game was temporarily suspended at 1:45 p.m. after the end of the third inning. After waiting for about eight minutes, the coaches and referees of the two teams gathered to talk and a no-game was declared. Kim Tae-hyung shook hands with Lee Seung-yeop and returned to the dugout.

From April 5, manager Kim Tae-hyung will play three consecutive home games against Doosan at Sajik Baseball Stadium. From May 17 to 19, he will play his first away series in front of Doosan fans at Jamsil Baseball Stadium.


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