KT manager Lee Kang-cheol (57) and LG manager Yeom Kyung-yup (55) first met 39 years ago.
Lee was a junior and Yeom a freshman when they met on the baseball team at Gwangju Il-Go University. Their 40-year relationship will culminate in the Korean Series in 2023.
At a media day event a day before Game 1, Yeom said, “In the dugout, we call him ‘steel’. He knows me too well, so there are definitely some things that bother me. But I’m really happy that we can be together in the Korean Series, and I want to show the fans a fun game with a good fight.”
Yeom Kyung-yeop was Lee Kang-cheol’s second-year junior in high school, but he made his head coaching debut at Nexen in 2013. He recruited Lee as his most trusted companion and head coach.
The Tigers franchise star, who had only coached pitchers at KIA since his retirement, was the first to leave the organization. In 2014, he coached Nexen to a runner-up finish in the Korean Series.
After four years together, Lee moved to Doosan and became KT’s manager in 2019, and the two coaches met again in the Korean Series.
Yoon Kyung-yeop, who is making his first appearance in the Korean Series in nine years and needs to win his first championship as a manager, and more importantly, break LG’s 29-year championship drought, is up against his “best friend” Lee Kang-cheol. Lee may have been late to the managerial game, but he already has a championship ring, having led KT to its first overall title in 2021 in his third year.
“There were many reasons why I wanted to come to the Korean Series, but I really wanted to play with Yoon Kyung-yup on the biggest stage. After winning two games in the playoffs, I thought, ‘There will be a lot of issues after today (meeting LG).’ I really wanted to come up, and I’m happy that I was able to play a good game against him.”
The highlight of the Korean Series between LG and KT, which starts on July 7, will undoubtedly be the tactical battle between the two managers. They come from completely different worlds. The spear-and-shield battle between Yoon Kyung-yeop, who pushed through a lot of criticism to lead LG to the top spot in stolen bases and the first regular season title in 29 years, and Lee Kang-cheol, a master of the mound, promises to be one of the most intense bench battles ever.
At the media day, Yeom Kyung-yup, Lim Chan-kyu, and Oh Ji-hwan (LG) predicted a Game 6, while Lee Kang-chul, Park Kyung-soo, and Park Young-hyun (KT) predicted a Game 7. Ahead of the epic battle, which is not expected to end easily, the 40-year olds started off warmly with some good words.
Coach Yoon Kyung-yeop said, “Despite being a star, you have a big heart to study and learn baseball more than anyone else. I think you have come to this position through such a process. I hope you will continue to lead us as a leader of Korean baseball managers in the future.”
Lee Kang-chul also said, “After graduating from high school, I met him again in the winter of 2012 (on the same team), and 메이저토토사이트 during my time as a head coach, I was like, ‘Oh, you’re so tough, this is why you became a manager,’ and I saw so much and learned so much. Those four years have given me a lot of nourishment. Even now, after baseball, he just watches baseball again, so I hope he eats well.” For the last time before the hospitality, the two managers looked at each other and smiled.