“We will train harder than ever in Wonju.”
The Kiwoom Heroes (58 W, 83 L, 3 D) ultimately suffered their first last-place finish in the franchise. 메이저사이트The Hanwha Eagles clinched 10th place with a game against the Lotte Giants in Daejeon on Thursday. In the 10-team, 144-game system, they are the first team in five years to have a winning percentage (.411) worse than the 2018 NC Dinos. However, it’s a very disappointing year for the franchise, considering they were looking for their first major championship a season ago.
With Lee Jung-hoo out for the season early in the second half, the team suddenly turned to rebuilding. Lee Joo-hyung, acquired from LG, became the next center fielder. Park Soo-jong and Lim Ji-yeol stood out at the end of the season. Kim Hwi-jip and Song Sung-moon are also long-term core players. On the mound, Yoon Seok-won, Cho Young-gun, and Lee Jong-min stood out.
However, their commitment is unclear. Since Hong Won-ki took over, the team has been actively recruiting players in their early to mid-20s, but there is also a bitter external assessment that many players have stagnated in their growth. In this situation, the team quickly collapsed due to a series of injuries to domestic players, foreign players, batters, and pitchers, and the collective failure of external free agents.
Ultimately, Kiwoom will conduct a one-month Wonju finalization training from the 22nd to discover more players and equip each individual to improve survivability through internal competition. They finished the season against Incheon SSG on the 13th, so it’s exactly eight days off before they start training. Rookies are also expected to join the team in November. The team selected two players in the first through third rounds of the 2024 Draft, so they plan to use them as a future engine.
Head coach Hong Won-ki predicted a “hell of a training session” ahead of the Gwangju KIA game on Nov. 11. The team, which traditionally emphasizes efficiency over quantity in training, has taken a drastic course change. Baseball is not all about rest and image training. It”s also necessary to do as many repetitions as your body allows in order to improve your skills.
“It’s encouraging to see the players who got new opportunities stand out,” says Hong Won-ki. It is meaningful to start the new competition system early. The Wonju camp will be more intense than in previous years. We focused on discovering new players. We’re planning a lot of skill checks and practical training. The players who stand out there will be taken to next year’s spring camp, and we need to select players who are plus alpha for next year’s operation.”
Lee Jung-hoo and Kim Hye-sung are self-proclaimed ‘hardworking geniuses’. However, not everyone can be a genius, and there are players who are close to being geniuses but don’t try as hard. One of them has already made it to the major leagues, and the other may not be far behind.
Ultimately, Kiwoom needs to develop the next Lee Jeong-hoo, the next Kim Hye-sung, and make them pillars of the team. This may take some time. But since it’s here, they need to do it right. The rebuilding and retooling time could be shortened if some of this year’s underperforming free agents bounce back and some of the younger hitters develop.
Heroes pour their blood, sweat, and tears in Wonju. It’s interesting to see what happens when a team that’s not used to hell training goes through hell training.