Kim Ki-tai has offered to step down as manager of the last-place LG Twins, the Korea Baseball Organization team announced.
The Twins added they haven’t accepted his resignation offer, after Kim said he wanted to quit to take responsibility for the Seoul-based team’s slow start to the season.
They said bench coach Cho Kye-hyun will serve as the interim manager.
Kim didn’t appear for Wednesday’s game against the Samsung Lions, fueling speculation that he had either been fired or had resigned.
The Twins had initially said Kim was attending to “personal matters.”
The Twins went on to drop the game 7-3 for their fourth consecutive loss.
The Twins’ officials said general manager Baek Soon-gil has been in talks with Kim “with all kinds of possibilities left open.”
Kim, a former KBO All-Star and batting champ, guided the Twins to the playoffs in 2013, their first postseason appearance since 2002. They posted the second-best regular season record but lost to the Doosan Bears in four games in the best-of-five second round.
|LG Twins manager Kim Ki-tai ( Yonhap)|
After losing Wednesday, the Twins dropped to 4-13-1 for the season, dead last among nine clubs and 7 1/2 games out of first place.
“Our team had a good season last year, and even this year, we reached first in batting average at one point,” the Twins said in a statement. “We’ve believed all along that our team will turn things around, and it’s very regrettable that something like this happened at this juncture.”
Kim enjoyed a stellar playing career as one of the premier left-handed bats in the 1990s. He belted 27 homers as a rookie in 1991, and became the first left-handed batter to lead the KBO in homers in 1994, when he hit 25 long balls.
Kim won his lone batting title with a .344 average in 1997. He retired in 2005 with a .294 career batting average, along with 249 home runs and 923 RBIs in 1,544 games.
He then served as a coach for the Yomiuri Giants in Japan, before returning home as the Twins’ minor league manager.
He became the bench coach for the Twins’ big club in 2011 and signed a three-year deal to be their new manager starting in the 2012 season. He is in the final year of his contract. (Yonhap) KBO surpasses 1 million fans
The nation’s top baseball league has surpassed the 1 million mark in attendance this year at its third-fastest rate, officials said on Thursday.
The Korea Baseball Organization said its nine clubs have drawn 1.02 million fans in 83 games played through Wednesday. It’s the third-fewest number of games that the KBO took to reach the 1 million mark, behind 65 games in 2012 and 79 games in 1995.
The KBO set an all-time single season record with 7.16 million fans in 2012, its sixth straight year of a year-on-year increase in attendance figures, but the total slipped to 6.44 million fans last year.
In 2014, the KBO saw its preseason attendance jump about 32 percent from a year ago, and then sold out all three games on the opening day on March 29, when one of the four scheduled games was rained out.
According to the KBO, six of the nine teams have enjoyed an increase in their attendance so far this season. The other three teams, the Doosan Bears, the LG Twins and the Lotte Giants, have had a decrease of between 1 percent and 5 percent.
The Bears, based at 25,500-seat Jamsil Stadium in Seoul, still lead the KBO in the total attendance with just under 215,000 fans.
The overall increase is likely aided by the opening of the new stadium for the Kia Tigers in Gwangju, about 330 kilometers south of Seoul. Their Gwangju-Kia Champions Field has 22,000 seats, compared with 12,500 seats for their previous home, Mudeung Stadium.
The Tigers are averaging more than 14,400 fans per game after eight games at home, up from barely over 9,000 last year after the same number of home games. (Yonhap)