Managers and key players of the nine pro baseball clubs gathered on Monday to talk a big game ahead of the new season, with the league’s defending champions touted as the title favorite again.
The Korea Baseball Organization hosted the annual preseason media day at the New Millennium Hall at Konkuk University in eastern Seoul.
Most managers said they felt the Samsung Lions should once again contend for the title.
Ryu Joong-il, manager of the Daegu-based Lions, said he is willing to take on challengers.
“Our goal this season is to win the championship for the third straight year,” he said. “We’ll give our best in every game we play.”
The Lions finished last among nine teams in the preseason with just two wins in 11 games. He lamented the loss of two relief pitchers, Jong Hyun-wook to free agency and Kwon Oh-jun to a season-ending elbow surgery.
“We were the worst team in preseason and I think we just might be the weakest team in the regular season, too,” Ryu quipped. “The key is how the rest of the team can pick up the slack without Jong Hyun-wook and Kwon Oh-jun.”
The Lions defeated the SK Wyverns in the championship Korean Series for each of the past two titles. The Wyverns have played in a league-record six consecutive Korean Series, and manager Lee Man-soo said he is confident they can make it seven in a row.
“Our puzzle is almost complete,” Lee said. “I can see that there is not a weak team in this league. Every team will be challenging. But we’re going to do what we couldn’t do last year, and that is to win the championship for our fans.” (Yonhap News)