“”We’re professionals”…Lotte’s jovial ‘1992 champion’ dreams of a great ending

“We’re professionals, so let’s just focus on our roles.”온라인카지노

Entering the final week of June, the Lotte Giants were in a bad mood. A disastrous 2-7 record in a nine-game series in the Seoul metropolitan area against the SSG Landers, KT Wiz, and LG Twins pushed them to the brink of collapse with a five-game winning percentage of 33 on the season. Although they remained in fourth place, the gap between them and the mid-table group was rapidly closing, leaving the entire squad in a psychological chase.

Add to that the suspicion that there was discord between LOTTE head coach Larry Sutton and some of the coaching staff ahead of his farewell home game against the Samsung Lions on Nov. 27.

Sutton denied the rumors, saying, “There is no problem with the team,” but there was a major reshuffle of the first-team coaching staff. Bae Young-soo, the first-team pitching coach, moved to become the head coach of the Futures, and Lee Jong-woon, the head coach of the Futures team, moved to become the first-team head coach.

Lee Jong-woon became the 16th head coach of Lotte in the 2015 season, but he was fired just after the first year of his three-year contract after the team failed to reach the postseason.

It seemed like his time with Lotte was over, but the organization recognized his ability to develop players and offered him a position as head coach of the Future Team after the end of last season. He accepted the offer from his hometown team and donned the Giants’ jersey again.

Lee Jong-woon was resilient to the sudden change of position during the season. “It’s a burden,” he said, “but as a professional coach, if the team needs me, I have to play a role. I came to the first team with the mindset that I should take it for granted,” he said.

Soon after joining the first team, Lee Jong-woon began to clean up the mess by holding individual meetings with the veteran players as well as team meetings. The biggest emphasis was on ‘professionalism’. He made sure to convey the message that even though the situation was difficult in many ways, they had to be professional and do their best in their positions.

Prospects who had been closely monitored by the second team coach were also recommended to Sutton. Having been in charge of game management as a first-team manager himself, he is determined to help the team run smoothly between Sutton, the coaching staff, and the players.

“I told the players that they might be upset that there is a coaching staff change, but they are professionals and have to fulfill their roles. “We called the veteran players and talked to them about working together and communicating with each other so that the team can do well,” he said.

“In a season, there are always going to be ups and downs. You can’t be good all the time, so you have to think of it as a new beginning,” he said, adding, “The players are also fighting among themselves to raise the mood. I hope we can work together and play fall baseball.”

As if reading head coach Lee Jong-woon’s mind, captain Ahn Chi-hong and best player Jeon Jun-woo held their own meetings to keep the team centered. Lotte also bounced back with back-to-back come-from-behind wins against Samsung on April 27-28. It gave them a breather as they extended their lead over the fifth-place Kiwoom Heroes to two games.

After the win over Samsung on July 27, Yoo Kang-nam said, “(Ahn) Chi-hong-i told the players not to mind (the coaching staff change) and to do the best we can. He conveyed the message that we shouldn’t give up until the end on the baseball field,” he said, adding, “(Former) Jun-woo also said not to worry about the atmosphere, but I think the players were focused on the game because the most veteran senior said that.”

Lee Jong-woon is eager for Lotte to get over the June hump and into the postseason. Having led Lotte ‘V2’ in 1992 with a .314 batting average with 126 hits, three home runs, 57 RBIs, 21 doubles and a .798 OPS in the regular season and a 16-for-5 performance with one home run and four RBIs in the Korean Series, his greatest desire is to be able to play fall baseball in a Lotte uniform as a coach.

“It’s already been 30 years, so I feel like it’s been a long time coming. As a coach, not a player, I hope that my team will have some good results, and if that happens, it will be the best story of all.”

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