‘Fall Baseball→Home Fans Boo→Finally 100 Wins’ Coach Lee Seung-yeop

He was a legend in Korean baseball, but he had no experience as a coach. When Lee Seung-yeop, 48, was handed the reins of the Doosan Bears, there were many concerns, but after 49 games in his second year, Lee has reached 100 career wins.

The Bears won their 2024 Shinhan SOL Bank KBO League home opener against the Lotte Giants at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on Monday, 8-3, behind a batting lineup that hit four home runs.

The victory was a welcome change of pace for Doosan, which had slumped to one win and two losses after a nine-game winning streak. The team remained in sixth place with 26 wins, 21 losses and one draw, but closed to within half a game of the third-place NC Dinos.

Kwak Bin, who was in trouble in the top of the first inning, struck out to end the inning without allowing a run, and captain Yang Seok-hwan hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the inning. Despite the high pitch count, Kwak Bin was able to hold on for the full six innings, while Yang Seok-hwan’s multi-homer game and the arching of Jeong Soo-bin and Kim Ki-yeon secured an easy victory.

The match was also significant for the club itself. Doosan Group Chairman Park Chung-won personally visited the stadium. Park, who visits the training grounds every season and visits the ballpark whenever he can, recently showed his affection for the team by giving them a high-end tablet PC to help them cope with the ABS system.

He became the 58th manager in history to reach the 100-win plateau. He became the seventh Bears manager and eighth player in history to reach 100 home runs and 100 wins as a manager.

“I think the tide changed when (Kwak) Binyi started with the bases loaded and no outs and (Yang) Seok-hwan hit a walk-off home run,” said Lee Seung-yup, who received a bouquet of flowers from owner Park Jung-won after the victory and received special congratulations in front of a full house. “I think Binyi felt a little more relaxed when he saw the three runs coming,” Lee said.

Lee, who had previously said he would not attach much significance to the 100 wins, said, “It touched me a little bit because (the owner) gave me a bouquet of flowers.” “The chairman is very interested in baseball. I’ve always felt responsible because I thought 스포츠토토 he was watching me, but when he comes down and gives me a bouquet, I feel very honored. I feel more responsible.”

After leading Dusan to a ninth-place finish in 2022, he made it to baseball last fall, only to be booed by fans in the home final. The weight of the job was more than he expected.

“It was a lot of trial and error,” Lee said. “After I took over last year, I realized that being a coach requires a lot more than I thought, and I realized that being a coach is not just standing around,” he said. “I think I really learned a lot last year, so I’m still trying to get closer to perfection, but there’s still a long way to go.

Doosan has been a solid performer this season. Despite the absence of last year’s first-teamers Raul Alcantara and season-ending closer Chung Cheol-won, the team has built a young pitching staff and developed the likes of Kang Seung-ho and Kim Ki-yeon into mainstays, keeping them in contention for the top spot. Even among fans, it’s hard to hear the same complaints as before.

It’s a product of hard work. “We’re still a long way off, but I’m playing with the idea that I’ll make up for my deficiencies the more I play,” Lee said. “It’s up to the outside world to judge whether it will work or not, so I’m trying to play in a good atmosphere with the players and win a little more.”

The players made a special cake for the coach. It was decorated with Lee’s face and the phrase “Nice Game,” which he often says. Yang Seok-hwan, who showed frustration when Jung Soo-bin only delivered the cake to him, accepted the cake again and showed playfulness by taking it in his hands and smearing it on Lee Seung-yup’s face. Director Lee Seung-yup responded by smearing the cake on Yang Seok-hwan’s face, creating a hilarious scene.

“I told him to pour the cake from the side, but he couldn’t do it,” Lee said, adding, “He’s doing a good job, and I’ve been playing for 23 years since I was 20 years old when I was young, and I’ve had many different types of leaders, but I don’t think it’s my style to hold authority or weight. I always want to have a relationship with my players where I can talk to them about my problems and share everything with them as teammates,” he said.

“I want to be with the players as a person who belongs to a team rather than a leader and a player, a disciple and a teacher,” he said, adding, “There are pros and cons, but I pursue that.”

The players have full faith in Lee, too. “I sincerely congratulate Coach Lee on his 100th win,” said Yang Seok-hwan, “and I’m very happy to be with him.”

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