Retired manager Kim teams up with KBO for Asian GamesFormer Hanwha Eagles manager Kim In-sik has been busy since he retired.
The 63-year-old joined the technical committee of the Korea Baseball Organization after leaving the manager’s post at the end of last season. Kim will be in charge of compiling scouting reports on Korea’s opponents and leading the team of advisors that will help select the members of the national team for the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, this November.
Most baseball fans remember Kim for taking the national team to a runner-up finish at the 2009 World Baseball Classic, even while missing key veterans from his roster. Kim is now serving as an advisor to Asian Games manager Cho Beom-hyun, who also manages the Kia Tigers.
Kim plans to start work next month. First up: collecting data on Taiwanese players on Major League Baseball farm teams.
“The job can be harder than managing the national team. You can’t just focus on one team, you have to keep your eye on everyone competing against Korea. I’ll have to keep my ears open and listen to all the baseball insiders,” Kim said.
“I’ll be attending baseball games on a daily basis.”
Kim has been suffering from the aftereffects of a cerebral infarction, a type of stroke, and continues to get acupuncture as part of his rehabilitation. Asked about his health, he replied, “I have recovered and feel good enough to take this post.”
Korea won back-to-back gold medals at the 1998 Bangkok Games and 2002 Busan Games, but settled for the bronze behind Japan and first-place Taiwan at the 2006 Doha Games.
Kim says the biggest obstacle at the upcoming Asian Games will be the Japanese team, which most likely will call upon its professional players. Taiwan also figures to be a tough opponent.
“I think Taiwan is the team to watch out for. Taiwanese baseball sees a win at the Asian Games as an important start in distancing themselves from last year’s baseball betting scandal.
“I think they’ll call on all the overseas players, including minor-league players from the States,” said Kim. “Taiwan and Japan are expected to field strong teams, so it’s tough to guess who’ll end up winning.”
Kim believes the team should be custom-made to fit the manager’s needs. Winning the Games will mean a lot to the players, as gold medalists will be exempted from mandatory military service.
“It’s important to gather the players our manager wants, even if that involves convincing reluctant KBO club officials,” explained Kim.
The national team will select a total of 60 players for a training session on June 30, and will announce the final 22-man roster at the end of September.
By Kim Sung-won [email@example.com]
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