[SPORTS VIEW]The series isn't iced yet, but it's close

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[SPORTS VIEW]The series isn't iced yet, but it's close

These days, I try to go home early and work from there, as temperatures have been chilly in my office -- at least where I sit. For reasons I am still trying to figure out the area around my desk doesn't get any heat, and I have to wear an overcoat as I type. Admittedly, I am sensitive to cold temperatures, and when I feel the chill in my bones I just can't write. Nevertheless, some of my fellow workers keep on writing. They are true warriors ready to take on all obstacles.

Anyway, I am not the only one affected by the chill factor. Due to a temporary stop of baseball's regular season during the World Cup, the Samsung Lions and the LG Twins, who are battling it out in the Korean Series, are playing in temperatures better suited for downhill skiing. It's bad for the players and it's bad for the fans. Players are stuffing their pockets with hot packs and have electric stoves in the dugouts, but to little avail. There is no denying that their playing skills are suffering. The cold temperatures have become a factor to be reckoned with ?a good example was seen in the second game of the Korean Series.

In that game, which LG won 3-1, the pitchers' fingers were going numb, so they had trouble with their control. Because of the chilly conditions, mistakes were made, with Samsung paying the higher price. In the sixth inning, the Twins, who had been shut down until then by Samsung's starting pitcher, Lim Chang-yong, capitalized on their first real chance of the day. LG catcher Cho In-sung locked on a hanging curve ball, and hammered it over the left-field fence to tie the game at 1-1.

The Twins got the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth, thanks to Samsung's stiff fingers. With runners on first and third -- both players had walked -- Samsung catcher Jin Kab-yong made a wild pick off throw to third, and the game was lost.

Luckily, Samsung rebounded to take Game 3 in Seoul, and on a much warmer night, by a score of 6-0. The Lions now lead the best-of-seven series two games to one.

But after Game 2, Samsung fans were shaking their heads in disbelief, fearing it was a deja vu of last year, when Samsung lost the series to a supposedly inferior Doosan Bear team. Just like this year, Samsung failed last year to take the first two games of the series at its home park in Daegu. And last year the Lions lost the final game of the series at Seoul's Jamsil Stadium, the home field of both Doosan and LG.

It's too bad for Samsung that the league hasn't acted on its enthusiasm to build roofed stadiums. For years, this has been one of the league's top priorities, and officials want the first dome to be up in Daegu, Samsung's home, by 2005. Talks between Daegu officials and the league have been positive. Had they acted on the plan a few years sooner, Samsung might be up in the series 3-0 instead of 2-1.

But Samsung has no plans to support the building of a dome, although insiders hint that might change if Samsung wins the Korean Series, which would be its first title. After Thursday's Game 3 win, things are looking up for Samsung. But if the Lions lose the momentum and the series -- shiver to think -- they will have a mighty long winter ahead.





"Sports View" appears Thursdays and Sundays in the JoongAng Daily.


by Brian Lee

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