KBO announces All-Star squads
The KBO All-Star Game taking place at KT Wiz Park in Suwon, Gyeonggi on July 18 will be a clash between the Dream All-Star team (players from the Samsung Lions, SK Wyverns, Doosan Bears, Lotte Giants and KT Wiz) and Nanum All-Star team (players from the Nexen Heroes, NC Dinos, LG Twins, Kia Tigers and Hanwha Eagles).
The members of each team were selected through votes by fans, players and coaches. According to the KBO, the governing body of Korea’s top baseball league, 2.33 million fan votes were gathered online from June 10 to July 3, while there were 346 votes from players and coaches.
In order to prevent fans of a single team from overrunning the ballot, the KBO weighted fans’ votes 70 percent and players’ votes 30 percent when deciding the teams.
The final rosters of both teams will be announced Wednesday, along with an additional 24 players decided by manager’s recommendation. Dream All-Star is managed by the Lions’ Ryu Joong-il, while Nanum All-Star is led by the Heroes’ Yeom Kyung-yup.
Lefty slugger Lee, 38, topped the list of the 120 All-Star candidates and set a new record for the number of votes received. The KBO’s all-time home run leader collected more than 1.53 million fan votes, beating the previous record set by the LG Twins’ pitcher Bong Jung-keun, who hit 1.17 million votes in 2013. Lee was the third-most popular among other players’ votes.
This is the ninth time Lee has been picked as a KBO All-Star. On the previous eight occasions, the five-time KBO MVP was chosen for the first baseman position, but this was the first time he was selected as designated hitter.
“I think hitting the 400th home run of my career may have affected [the vote],” he said.
NC Dinos designated hitter Lee Ho-joon, 39, was the top pick for Nanum All-Star. He was second in the overall All-Star vote, but received the most votes from players at 215, beating Kia Tigers starting pitcher Yang Hyeon-jong by four.
There were some discrepancies between the picks of fans and players. While the voting results for Dream All-Star was same for both fans and players, four positions had different results on Nanum All-Star.
Nexen Heroes relief pitcher Cho Sang-woo, closer Son Seung-lak and NC Dinos second baseman Park Min-woo were the top players’ picks. But after counting the fan vote, they were pushed by Hanwha Eagles players Park Jung-jin, Kwon Hyuk and Jeong Keun-woo, who took their positions.
Dinos outfielder Na Sung-bum also received the most votes from players for the outfielder position with 173, but after finishing fourth in the fan vote, he was 0.94 points behind the Tigers’ Kim Joo-chan and was omitted from the category.
Last year’s southpaw pitchers will clash again, with SK Wyverns’ Kim Kwang-hyun pitching for Dream All-Star, while Yang Hyeon-jong standing for Nanum All-Star.
The Lions’ Koo Ja-wook and Yamaico Navarro, Heroes’ Kim Min-sung and Kim Ha-seong and Dinos’ Eric Thames are making their first KBO All-Star appearance.
BY JOO KYUNG-DON [firstname.lastname@example.org]