LG Twins fans have new hope
Published : 2013-08-20 19:33
Updated : 2013-08-20 19:33
Jung Sang-chul has been a fan of the LG Twins, a Seoul-based Korea Baseball Organization club, since 1994, the team’s last championship season.
In the intervening years, like most other KBO teams, the Twins have had their shares of ups and downs ― mostly downs.
In a league where nearly half the teams make the playoffs, the Twins last reached the postseason in 2002, when they lost to the Samsung Lions in Game 6 of the Korean Series by giving up two home runs in the bottom of the ninth.
Since then, the Twins would often get off to a hot start, driving up fans’ expectations and hopes, and tricking them into thinking this would be finally their year, only to fade away in June or July.
The Twins haven’t won a championship in 19 years ― not quite like the Chicago Cubs, without a World Series title since 1908, but long enough to qualify as a drought in a league that’s been around for 31 years.
The Twins’ recent demise has given birth to an awkwardly phrased term “Down Team Down (DTD)” ― as in, some teams are eventually bound to go “down” in the standings, no matter how well they play early in the season.
In the KBO, the top four clubs in the regular season reach the postseason, with the first seed earning the bye to the championship Korean Series. From 2003 to 2012, the Twins finished sixth, sixth, sixth, eighth, fifth, eighth, seventh, sixth, sixth and seventh.
All along, Jung has remained a Twins fan.
“I’ve never lost faith,” he recently told Yonhap.
“Twins fans never change.”
Indeed, the Twins have consistently been one of the KBO’s biggest draws. Even during their decade of playoff drought, they led the KBO in home attendance at Jamsil Stadium in five consecutive seasons starting in 2003, and they have never fallen out of top three in the past 10 season.
LG fans took their devotion to a new level this summer, stuffing the ballots for the All-Star Game and filling every starting position with LG players at the mid-summer classic.
Jeon Ji-eun, a writer at a local radio station, said LG fans whom she knows are “very emotionally attached” to their ballclub, but added even the devoted ones have had their faith tested.
“I have to admit last year was when people were tempted to leave,” said Jeon, a fan since the early 2000s. “We all said, ‘Let’s just stick it out one more year and see.’”
The fans’ loyalty could be finally paid off this year, in the form of a playoff appearance and, perhaps, a championship.
The 2013 season has been unlike any other recent season by the Twins. Usually fast out of the gate, the Twins were only 19-23 on May 28, just seventh among nine teams.
Then the Twins turned things around in a hurry. In a remarkable stretch that has drawn a favorable comparison with the Los Angeles Dodgers’ historic 42-8 streak in Major League Baseball, the Twins have gone 39-16 since May 28 through last Sunday, to climb to second place at 58-39.
They have not lost consecutive games since July 8, and the Lions, who are at 56-37-2, are only slightly ahead in winning percentage, .602 to .598. (Yonhap News)