“Am I the only one struggling?”
Doosan Bears head coach Lee Seung-yeop is having a rough start to his coaching career. Since his first year in charge, he’s been plagued by player incidents and accidents. He has already bowed his head to say “I’m sorry” on behalf of his players many times. It is difficult to be a coach who has to manage the entire team without any noise.
The most recent example of this is set-up man Chung Chul-won, 24. During the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March, he was accused of drinking alcohol at a snack bar with Kim Kwang-hyun (35, SSG Landers), a senior member of the national team’s pitching staff. The players deny that there were any women in the bar, and the KBO is conducting a thorough investigation to determine the level of discipline.
For the Doosan bullpen, Chung has been indispensable. Lee has used the bullpen this season with only two set-up men and a closer, Hong Gun-hee (31), with the rest of the rotation changing depending on the situation. It is no exaggeration to say that Chung and Hong were the only two pitchers who could be calculated to be shut down.
Lee, who was called the “national hitter” during his playing days, is a baseball man who knows the weight of the Taegeuk mark better than anyone. While it’s unfortunate to see him leave the team right now, the KBO as a whole needs to give him time to adjust. This is why Lee decided to remove Chung from the first team on the 2nd.
Lee said, “I thought it would be better for him to take some time to restrain himself than to play right now. Nothing has come out (regarding discipline), but after talking to the club, I thought it would be a good time for him to restrain himself. I told the player to accept it because I’ve spoken to the club.”
The Jeong Chul-won case comes shortly after pitchers Lee Young-ha, 26, and Kim Yoo-seong, 21, were cleared of bullying cases that have weighed heavily on Lee’s mind since last October. Kim Yoo-sung had been trying to reconcile with the victim of bullying in middle school for several years before finally settling the case in April and starting his professional career. Lee Young-ha was acquitted on March 31 after a court battle with a person who claimed to be a victim of bullying in high school since last September. Jung Chul-won threw cold water on the mound, especially after the 17-win ace in 2019 was cleared of all charges of bullying.
To make matters worse, the starting mound is on the verge of collapse. While ace Raul Alcantara (31) is holding down the fort, and Young Gun Kim (21) and Choi Seung-yong (22) have held up better than expected, there are simply not enough arms. Foreign second-choice Dylan Pyle (27) has yet to return from an elbow injury, while domestic starters Choi Won-jun (29) and Kwak Bin (24) have been expunged from the first-team roster to manage their health. For now, Lee will try to hold on to veteran Jang Won-jun (38) and Park Shin-ji (24), who have experience in the first team.
“It’s not just me,” Lee said of his repeated struggles. The coaching staff and players are also struggling. We’ve lost our core (starting pitchers), and it’s a little bit difficult because we lost Chung Chul-won. I thought we should have gotten better since May, but we’ve been hanging in there. It’s because we don’t have any foreign pitchers, but until they come back, I think we have to hold on rather than go up,” he said bluntly.메이저사이트
“Everything feels out of whack right now. It’s not going the way we expected it to go, and there are surprises. You have to live with that. I think the team that fills in the gaps will be a strong team, and I hope the guys coming up behind (in the second team) will pitch with confidence.”
As for the Chung Chul-won case, he again hung his head. “Of course, as a coach, you’re a student, you’re a teacher, and you have to feel sorry for your teammate,” Lee said.