“I could feel the energy. And then when they scored, it just hit me, and it was crazy.”
From the dreaded head of a rival team to ‘our manager’. The Lotte Giants’ Yoo Kang-nam has a special place in his heart for new manager Kim Tae-hyung.
He vividly remembers the fear that raged in the dugout across the street. In particular, he remembers the pressure of being crushed by a 1-15 record against the Giants in 2018.
“He’s smiling, but it’s not a smile. He’s nervous every day.”
He is a rare catcher among the KBO’s current first-team managers. “I will learn a lot from him because he is a manager in the same position,” Yoo Kang-nam said, “I plan to prepare for training while always recognizing the words of the manager in my head, so that I can be helpful to him.”
In particular, Kim Tae-hyung praised the Lotte catching staff at the inauguration ceremony, saying, “They are the best.” Yoo Kang-nam said, “I will not show any weaknesses in the future. I will prepare to be called a ‘catcher powerhouse,'” Yoo emphasized.
“When I played against the coach (as an opponent), the catchers were Yang Ji and Park Se-hyuk, and they were a team that was good at judging the situation at the right time and driving, and I think that’s the coach’s ability.”
He became the “8 billion catcher” when he donned a Lotte uniform as a free agent. However, his individual stats of 2.061 runs, 10 home runs, 55 RBIs, and an OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 0.745 left something to be desired.
“It’s unfortunate that my performance came so late in the season. If I had just done half of the second half at the beginning… But if I had finished the season with my first half performance, I would have been criticized much more than now.
But if we had finished the season with our first half performance, we would have been criticized a lot more than we are now,” he said, adding, “Although our chances of reaching the top five were lowered, I’m glad that our performance improved because we focused on every at-bat and every inning with the mindset of ‘I don’t want to end like this.'” 스포츠토토
He was overwhelmed with responsibility and pressure. “It’s not like I was paid a small amount of money…so the answer was to keep it simple, and that’s the difference between the first half and the second half,” Yoo said. “Still, the starting pitching staff’s ERA (3.83) is good. It’s the best performance in recent years,” he said with pride.