“I’ll shout when I’m healthy!”…Lee Seung-yup credits players for ‘9 straight wins’ feat
“The players did a good job”
The Doosan Bears were scheduled to play their ninth away game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League against SSG Landers at SSG Landers Field in Incheon on the 13th. However, the game was canceled due to a rainy season front that dumped water on the Seoul metropolitan area.
Doosan is undergoing a major reorganization after a disastrous season last year that saw the team finish ninth in its inaugural season. The team replaced “master” Kim Tae-hyung, who led the KBO to its first seven consecutive Korean Series (KS) appearances, and Lee Seung-yeop, who had been dubbed “the people’s hitter” after his contract expired, as well as all foreign players, and declared a comeback with a total of 15.2 billion won ($15.2 million) and the biggest free agent acquisition, Yang Ji Woo.
The season didn’t start off badly for Doosan, led by ‘newbie’ Lee Seung-yup. In April, Doosan won 12 games, drew one, lost 11, and had a winning percentage of more than 5 percent, and in May, they continued to cruise with 11 wins and 11 losses. However, the good momentum didn’t last. Doosan seemed to slip out of the mid-table race in June, finishing with 10 wins, 14 losses, and a disappointing 7th place finish.메이저놀이터
However, July was a different story. Starting with a win over the Lotte Giants at Munsu Baseball Stadium in Ulsan on July 1, the team went on a winning streak, defeating the Samsung Lions and Kiwoom Heroes in succession, and the day before (July 12), the team defeated SSG 4-1 to extend its winning streak to nine games. Doosan’s longest winning streak is 10 games.
Doosan first won 10 games in a row under Kim In-sung in 2010 and went on a 10-game winning streak from June 6, 2018 against the GoChek Nexen (now Kiwoom) Heroes to June 16 against the Daejeon Hanwha Eagles. Doosan, led by head coach Lee Seung-yeop, is very close to matching that record. With a win the previous day (June 12), they had won nine straight games in 1853 days. Unfortunately, the game was canceled due to rain on the 13th, but the team will be looking to extend their winning streak to 10 games in the first three games of the second half against the KIA Tigers.
With Doosan on a winning streak, Lee Seung-yeop is also making history. It’s the longest winning streak for a Bears manager in his first year. In 1982, Kim Young-duk and Kim Sung-geun “Yasin” in their first seasons, each won nine games in a row, and Lee joined them the previous day (Dec. 12). Lee needs one more win to make history for the Bears.
Before the game against Incheon SSG on the 13th, Lee said, “There is an evaluation that we finished the first half with a good performance. All evaluations are after the season is over. It’s the halfway point, so we won’t worry about the evaluation and will prepare to enter the second half. The real battle will be in the second half when the heat starts,” he said emphatically.
When asked what made Doosan’s nine-game winning streak possible, he said, “I didn’t do well. It’s the players. All the credit goes to the players. It’s not just my record. It’s the whole team, including our players. We had our trials and tribulations, we had a difficult time in June. I don’t think the record is really sinking in yet,” he said, adding that he was tied with Kim Young-duk and Kim Sung-geun, “but it’s not comparable to the greats.”
As a player, Lee was the “best” in the KBO, but as a manager, he faced many challenges. “When I was playing on the field, I studied and worked hard, thinking, ‘If I can’t do it today, I’ll do it tomorrow at all costs.’ But now I have to think and read the players’ minds. In fact, there are many things that don’t go my way,” he confessed.
“Before, I was only thinking about the team and myself, but now I have to look at all the players. It’s not easy to keep track of that. “I have more bad memories than good memories from the beginning to the middle of the season, but I think he made me realize it a little faster,” he said. “I think it was a better medicine for us in the beginning of the season.
After a strong April and May, Doosan suffered a major setback in June. “When we came into July, we were -3. If we were -10, we’d have to win 10 games in a row to have a 5 percent chance of winning, and we’d have to play 10 winning series. “That’s why I thought it would be a little difficult if we didn’t improve our winning percentage in the first half, so we went all out, and our players responded well. They were really ready to play,” he said.
Lee explained that his health had deteriorated as he was struggling with the responsibility. “It’s very hard,” he said. I used to exercise, but after I became a coach, I couldn’t exercise, so my back hurt, my neck hurt, and I had a lot of sore spots. I feel that my body is getting weaker, but I think I need to control my physical condition.” “I need to be healthy so I can shout out to the players,” he smiled broadly.
After finishing the first half of the season with nine consecutive wins, much attention will be focused on whether Lee can accomplish a second half ‘feat’.