LG manager Yeom Kyung-yeop has finally won a championship, and not just any championship, but one that ended a dark era for the organization that hadn’t won a championship since 1994.
The LG Twins won Game 5 of the best-of-seven 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO Korean Series 6-2 against the KT Wiz at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on Wednesday. LG won four straight games after dropping Game 1 to claim the coveted Korean Series title.
After clinching the regular season title in early October, LG spent the three weeks between the end of the regular season and the Korean Series training camp in Icheon to prepare. After losing two straight games in the playoffs, they met up with nemesis KT, who came into the Korean Series with a three-game reverse sweep, but they swept the two-game series, winning four games to one.
It was LG’s first Korean Series title in 29 years, since the 1994 championship. Manager Yoon Kyung-yeop earned the title of “championship manager,” fulfilling a dream that had eluded him as manager of Nexen and SK.
In Game 5, starter Casey Kelly pitched five innings, allowing one run on five hits with three walks and three strikeouts. Hae-min Park led off the game with a two-run double with runners on first and third in the third inning, and earned a standing ovation for his super diving catch to prevent a run in the fourth inning. He was awarded the MVP of the day for his performance.
The most talked-about series MVP honor went to Captain Ji-Hwan Oh. Oh went 19-for-6 with three doubles, three home runs, eight RBIs, and a 3-for-6 slugging percentage, earning him a $10 million prize and a Rolex watch that had been sitting in the company’s safe for more than 20 years. He received 80 of the 93 votes cast by journalists (86 percent of the vote) to become the biggest star of the Korean Series, ahead of Park Dong-won (7), Park Hae-min (4), Moon Bo-kyung and Yoo Young-chan (1).
After winning the manager’s award, Yoon told the LG fans on the field, “We will continue to run next year and the year after next. Go LG Twins!” and vowed to win the second and third consecutive Korean Series. The following is a one-on-one interview with the ‘winning manager’ Yoon Kyung-yup.
-What are your thoughts on the win?
I’m grateful to KT manager Lee Kang-cheol and the players for playing a great game in the Korean Series. Our fans have been waiting for a long time, and their unwavering support has created a sense of urgency to win the championship. We started this season with that, and our players had some difficulties during the regular season, but they handled the game well and played hard, which gave me a lot of confidence. Winning the regular season gave our players another boost of confidence, and the fact that we lost the most important game 1 of the Korean Series, but took the second game with Park Dong-won’s comeback home run, gave our players a boost of energy and confidence.
-You were our opponent in the last LG championship.
We were the opponent, but we didn’t have the power. We were playing defense and they were perfect on offense. We struggled a little bit because of the starting lineup. We didn’t have two starters, so it could have been a tough game, but just like in the regular season, the winning group stepped up. In the middle, Ham Deok-ju, Kim Jin-sung, Yoo Young-chan, Baek Seung-hyun, and Lee Jung-yong all stepped up to fill in the gaps in the lineup. In the most crucial situations, Kelly Kim Yoon-sik stepped up and played both defense and offense.
-Returning to the command center and eventually becoming a winning coach.
It was very helpful for me to take a break to reflect and study the season, as well as my coaching career. I looked back at what was missing and what was good. I had a lot of time on my hands when I was training in the U.S. I was alone with no family, and I checked and reorganized my notes. I learned from my successes and failures, which helped me a lot in my preparation for this season, from the beginning to the end.
-When did you know you were going to win?
When we came back in the second game. The next time I was sure was when we won the third game. In the short term, it’s all about winning, and I think we had that and I saw the confidence in those two games. The thing that motivates me the most is the players. I saw the desperation and the desire to win. I knew that this Korean Series, whether it was Game 6 or Game 7, I knew that our guys could do it. I even thought about Game 6 and Game 7.
-On the 10 million won pledge.
My idea is to distribute 5 million won each. It’s Park Dong-won and Yoo Young-chan. I hope they get a good bag. Park Dong-won received a lot of money as a free agent, but Yoo Young-chan played a role in giving us some breathing room. I thought about it last night.
-What did you emphasize to the players throughout the series?
At the beginning of the Korean Series, I saw that the players’ desperation and passion to win was second to none, and that desperation and passion can lead to impatience if it goes wrong, so the first thing I emphasized to the players was fundamentals and calmness. I wanted them to play calmly and one by one. The coaches and seniors have been talking about this for a while now, and we’ve been working on it for the Korean Series.
-When we were runners-up in the Korean Series in 2014, I cried here9 (in the interview room at Jamsil Stadium).
We didn’t win in 2014. We were outpowered, but with two errors, we gave it away. I personally thought I could do it. I wanted to do it so badly that I cried a lot at that point.
-How did it feel to win the LG?
It was a lot of pressure. We started the season with a lot of pressure. In April and May, when the starting lineup collapsed and the winning group collapsed, I couldn’t sleep to be honest. There was no way I was going to die there. Our guys held up really well. The bats exploded and filled in the gaps. Park Myung-geun, Yoo Young-chan, Baek Seung-hyun, and Ham Deok-ju, I think that’s why we were able to get through May.
-What was the biggest moment in the Korean Series?
It was when Choi Won-tae didn’t last the first inning. I felt that if we changed pitchers and gave up even one run in the rest of the innings, we would lose the second game, and this series was bound to be difficult no matter how desperate and passionate we were. Also, we were the weakest team in terms of fighting back from a deficit. I felt the most anxious when Won-tae Choi was pulled in the second game.
-Won-tae left the team after fronting and coaching at LG. I turned around and came back to LG and won the championship as a coach.
(When I left LG), I was criticized a lot at LG. It was a situation where someone had to take responsibility, and since I was the one who became the target, LG tried to keep me out of the team, but it was a situation where I could only be quiet if I left. I told the owner at that time. I said, “I’ll come back later with success. When I was offered the LG head coaching job by chance, I thought I was incredibly lucky. We had a lot of young players and we had the closest championship record of any team I’ve ever managed. I prepared hard to turn my luck into results. It was a lot of pressure, but the players gave me strength. The front office had faith in me.
-Yeom Kyung-yup on his controversial baseball career
One of the things I studied was not to be swayed by what is said outside. The manager is responsible for the results, and I thought it was most important to play the kind of baseball I think and gain the trust of the players. I was very worried when I was talking a lot about playing baseball. In the end, playing was not the absolute goal. I thought the first way for LG to succeed was to create an atmosphere where the players could play confident baseball without hesitation and nervousness. We wanted to play baseball in the configuration we have, and we wanted to play aggressive baseball from the first pitch. I wanted to create a team that could play baseball without hesitation, and I think that’s what we worked hard on with the players, and that’s what led to the good results. 카지노사이트
-A word to the family
My family also coaches. When I told them I was going to be the LG manager, they didn’t express joy, but opposed it. My wife is Buddhist, so we went to the temple every day to pray, not only during the Korean Series, but throughout the regular season. My daughter doesn’t like coming to the ballpark. But every time she came, we won, so she came every day with the reserve team and in this cold weather to cheer us on. My family helped me a lot when I was going through a tough situation, and they helped me to achieve this good result.
-Did you cry today?
I cried a little. Not as much as when I lost, of course, because I was so desperate that desperation overwhelmed my emotions. I was trying to focus. I cried a little because my kids were crying. I thought I was going to cry a lot, but I didn’t. I just want to rest now.
-On the challenge of winning back-to-back titles
I thought this year was the most important. I thought that if we won, it would give our team more strength for next season. We have a good structure, and if we can develop one or two more young players, it will give us the strength to go to a more prestigious club in the future. If we make it to the Korean Series next year, I think we will be a stronger LG. I told the fans that this is just the beginning. I don’t think this win is the end, but the beginning. I think Elsie has taken the first step to becoming a strong team. If we keep making good progress, the results will follow. I’m going to rest and prepare well for next year so that we can smile again next year.