Eagles’ management dilemma begins to weigh them down

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Eagles’ management dilemma begins to weigh them down


From left, Lee Sang-gun, right, talks to the Hanwha Eagles coach. Right, Kim Tae-gyun, far right, celebrates after setting a new record for his on-base streak of 85 consecutive games. [YONHAP]

It’s been three weeks since the Hanwha Eagles have been playing in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) with Lee Sang-gun, the Eagles’ pitching coach, who is now also the temporary manager.

When Kim Sung-keun announced his decision to step down as the Eagles’ manager, the club said that they will come up with a new policy as soon as possible. However, the Eagles have not announced whether the team will continue its season with Lee or find a new manager.

Some have criticized this slow progress, but from the Eagles’ perspective, since May 23, they may not see a reason to announce new policies as they haven’t played horribly. In 12 games, the Eagles won five and lost seven, which is similar to how they played with Kim. Under Lee’s management, fans visiting the Daejeon Hanbat Baseball Stadium decreased by 13.5 percent, as a lot fewer people have attended weekend games, but more have attended on weekdays.

And one of the Eagles’ coaches said that, under Lee’s management, the players are now stable and are motivated. That said, the team is having a good time with their temporary manager.

“If it’s hard to find a new manager,” said Huh Goo-yeon, a commentator for MBC Sports, “but the club should at least say until when Lee will be managing the team.”

There was a similar incident in 2006 when Yang Seung-ho, former manager for the Lotte Giants, was appointed as the LG Twins’ temporary manager in June and had to spend the remaining season in that position, playing 80 games.

“The Eagles are facing a dilemma right now,” Yang said. “Either way, they’ll be criticized. So it’s better to do it now than later.”

At the time, Yang was asked to manage the team for the rest of the 2006 season. Although Yang’s position was guaranteed for the remaining season, unlike Lee’s, there were still a lot of things Yang had to take care of as a replacement.

As with the Twins in 2006, the Eagles are expecting the same from Lee, but since the Eagles have not made a clear statement for the upcoming season, it’s harder for Lee to make any further plans.

“As a replacement, you can’t attempt too much,” Yang said. “Because in the end, it’s the club that evaluates you. Once you attempt too much, players realize it even before you and that’s when the team starts to fail.”

BY CHOI MIN-KYOO [kang.yoorim@joongang.co.kr]
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