Korean Series begins tonight in Daegu
The best-of-seven series starts at 6 p.m. at Daegu Baseball Stadium.
The first two games will be held in Daegu and the next two games will be hosted at the Wyverns’ home field of Incheon. If necessary, the remaining three games are scheduled for Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul.
The two teams met in last year’s championships series of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO). The Wyverns swept the Lions 4-0.
This year, however, most pundits are saying that it will be close as the Lions, the regular season champion, have taken enough rest to energize their players.
The Wyverns, however, have played two rounds of the best-of-five playoff series against Gwangju Kia Tigers and Busan Lotte Giants to reach the final stage, meaning the defending champion could be tired.
The Lions also edged the Wyverns in regular season play, with 10 wins, one draw and eight losses.
“I’m really thankful that SK made it because now we have a chance to pay back last year’s defeat,” Lions manager Ryu Joong-il said yesterday during the press conference in Daegu. “It’s going to be an interesting Korean Series.”
The Wyverns interim manager, Lee Man-soo, also agreed with Ryu that it’s going to be an interesting series and urged more support from baseball fans.
“We are physically tired, but when it comes to the postseason, our team is synonymous with postseason baseball,” said Lee. “I have faith in our players.”
This championship series offers an interesting matchup between these two rookie managers who were teammates for 11 seasons during the 1980s for the Lions. Both are also Hanyang University graduates.
Ryu, 46, spent 24 years in the blue uniform as a player and a coach. The former Golden Glove-winning shortstop took over the team this season and is credited for stabilizing the team’s pitching rotation and getting the most out of its young players.
Lee, meanwhile, spent 16 years as a Lions player, but never managed to coach for the franchise. After his retirement in 1998, the MVP-winning, All-Star catcher went to the Chicago White Sox to begin his coaching career. Lee came back to Korea in 2007, but it was the Wyverns who embraced the 53-year-old coach.
Lee, nicknamed “Hulk” for his slugging power, is acknowledged for bringing an energetic atmosphere to the club. He was appointed as caretaker of the Wyverns in August after Kim Sung-keun was fired due to a dispute with the club’s management.
“I know fans in Daegu will cheer the Lions, but I also want them to encourage us too,” Lee said.
The Lions have the league’s best closer in Oh Seung-hwan, who collected 47 saves, while the Wyverns have a solid relief pitcher lineup that accounted for 38 of the team’s 71 wins in the regular season.
Former Major Leaguer Doug Mathis will start the first game for the Lions, while the Wyverns announced that it will counter with lefty Ko Hyo-jun.
By Joo Kyung-don [firstname.lastname@example.org]