Archive for the 'Korea' Category

That Did Not Last Long

Friday, February 1st, 2019

The first female general manager in baseball has been replaced. She lasted on the job for two weeks. The Kiwoom Heroes have hired Kim Chi-Hyun to replace Im Eun-Ju. Kim had been hired to be head of strategies, international affairs and player development. The Heroes will look into placing Im in a new position with the club.

When it was first announced Im was hired as the GM for the Kiwoom Heroes a newspaper reported on past misconducts by her in her previous executive position. While she was a football executive it was alleged she hired a friend and a nephew for positions with the club, even though they clearly were not qualified for the job. It was also alleged Im was a meddling executive who was always talking to the head coaches about strategy. Im has denied the claims.

Im did make the statement that she did feel out of her depth in her first baseball job and felt the change might be best. So it is possible the change would have been made despite these allegations. So the hiring of the first female GM in baseball will have to wait.

Professional Baseball Hires First Female General Manager

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019

The Kiwoom (ex-Nexon) Heroes hired the first female general manager for professional baseball. She is Im Eun-Ju and she is not a stranger to being a first. She was also the first South Korean woman to become a FIFA referee. Her title is also that of team president. Myworld knows that no female has ever become general manager in the major leagues. We are pretty certain that Japan and Taiwan have not ever placed a female as general manager in their professional leagues, so we will call her a first.

While she will oversee baseball operations, Park Joon-Sang, a male, will oversee marketing and business operations. He will also carry the title of President. The Kiwoom Heroes have overtaken the franchise previously operated by the Nexen Heroes, who had financial and legal difficulties and decided to abandon their KBO team.

Im is an athlete having also played soccer for the women’s national soccer team. Her qualifications for the general manager position were learned after her playing days were over when she took over the administration of the men’s soccer program. She was the CEO and GM for two different soccer clubs from 2013 to 2018. She has very little baseball experience so there may be a bit of a learning curve as she goes about her duties.

Kudos to the KBO and the Kiwoom Heroes for their forward thinking.

Korea to Call Games Because of Fine Dust

Thursday, January 17th, 2019

The KBO will now call games not just because of rain but because of pollution. The calculation gets very complex, way beyond myworld’s level of understanding but if “the level of particles 2.5 to 10 micrometers in diameter (PM-10) is expected to exceed 300 micrograms per cubic meter (㎍/㎥) for more than two hours. For ultra fine dust, or particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, (PM-2.5), the warning is put in place when the level is expected to remain over 150㎍/㎥ for longer than two hours”. Myworld will leave it to the experts to make that call.

The call to cancel the game will be made one hour before the first pitch. It is not clear what happens if the dust particles reach that level while the game is in play. Fine dust issues caused the cancellation of three games that were supposed to be played on April 6, 2018.

Premier 12 Set for 2019

Wednesday, December 19th, 2018

The top 12 teams from the Premier 12 will compete in November 2019 for two spots in the 2020 Olympics. The 12 teams will be broken out into groups of four similar to the World Baseball Classic. These games will be held November 2-8 in Mexico, Taiwan and Korea. Two teams from each of these these groups of four will advance to the finals in Tokyo. They will play the games November 11-16 in the Tokyo Dome and Chiba Marine Stadium in pool play. On November 17 the finals will be held with the top two teams playing against each other and the third and fourth place teams competing for the bronze. This could be rather anticlimactic since the top two teams have already qualified for the Olympics and third place only gets you a bronze medal. But athletes play for pride.

The 12 teams that are eligible to compete are (in order of ranking):

1) Japan, 2) United States, 3) Korea, 4) Taiwan, 5) Cuba, 6) Mexico, 7) Australia, 8) Netherlands, 9) Venezuela, 10) Canada, 11) Puerto Rico, 12) Dominican Republic

Just missing from qualifying for the event are Panama, Colombia and Nicaragua, which finished 13-15 in the rankings.

Korea is the defending champions of the only Premier 12 to be played to date. The United States finished second and Japan third. The November time frame has been established to allow the countries to bring their top players to compete in this event. The professional leagues from Japan, United States, Taiwan and Korea will be over. Cuba will postpone their Nacional Series schedule as they do for the World Baseball Classic. It will be the best baseball has to offer outside of the World Baseball Classic.

Diamondbacks Take Risk with Kelly

Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

Merrill Kelly has not played any major league baseball. Yet the Arizona Diamondbacks signed the righthander to a two year S5.5 million contract. There are also two club options that would extend the contract to $9.5 million or a $500,000 buyout if they do not want to exercise those options.

The Diamondbacks are hoping the three years Kelly pitched in the KBO transfers well to the major leagues. Miles Mikolas had success with the Cardinals last year after pitching in Japan. The Brewers got some contributions from Eric Thames after he destroyed KBO pitching for a couple years. The Diamondbacks are hoping for some success from Kelly, who last pitched outside of Korea in the minor leagues for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Kelly pitched for the SK Wywerns the last three years. In three seasons he started 90 games and finished with a 3.80 ERA. When you consider what a hitters league the KBO is those are pretty good numbers. This past season the Wyverns won the KBO championship with Kelly going 16-7 with a 3.60 ERA. He had his best season that year, striking out 189 hitters in 190 innings, though he has given up more than a hit per inning pitched in all three years.

His stuff is not overpowering, but he could have some success at the back end of the rotation. The Diamondbacks are a little short in the rotation after losing Patrick Corbin to free agency, Taijuan Walker to Tommy John and Shelby Miller to ineffectiveness. They are also trying to trade the contract of Zack Greinke. If Kelly can provide them 30 average starts he has done his job.

Top 14 Countries for Women’s Baseball

Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

There are not as many countries that participant in woman’s baseball. Japan is the most dominant, currently carrying a 30 game world cup winning streak. Canada, the number two rated team came the closest to beating Japan in the World Cup, losing 2-1 in a Super Round game. Taiwan jumped three spots after finishing second in last year’s World Cup. Most of the top United States players are encouraged to play softball because of a lack of baseball programs for women. They dropped a notch after failing to medal the last two years. Below are the top 14 countries for woman’s baseball:

1. Japan - 2000 points
2. Canada - 1300
3. Taiwan - 1297
4. United States - 1094
5. Venezuela - 989
6. Australia - 904
7. Cuba - 537
8. Korea - 500
9. Dominican Republic - 433
10. Hong Kong - 363
11. Netherlands - 311
12. Puerto Rico - 267
13. India - 104
14. Pakistan - 67

Tommy Joseph Gets Opportunity in Korea

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

The LG Twins are doing a good job signing foreign players. They resigned Tyler Wilson, who did a good job for them last year. They also signed former first round pick Casey Kelly, who had a good season last year in a late appearance with the San Francisco Giants (3.04 ERA in seven appearances, three starts). After not resigning Adonis Garcia the Twins went out to snag Tommy Joseph as their position player.

Joseph has the potential to slug 40 plus homeruns in the KBO. What is critical is how he adapts to Korean life. Like the Dominicans who come to the United States, it can be a challenge to arrive in a country where your language is not the primary language. Last year Joseph slugged 21 homeruns in the minor leagues but failed to get any major league time. His two previous seasons he had hit 22 (2017) and 21 (2016) homeruns for the major league Phillies. The development of Rhys Hoskins and the acquisition of Carlos Santana left him without a position last year.

For $1 million Joseph will try to resurrect his career in Korea, or work on a new career.

Wyverns Win KBO championship

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

It took 13 innings but the Wyverns pulled it out to win the championship over the Doosan Bears 5-4. Choi Jeong hit a solo shot in the ninth inning to send the game into extra innings and Han-Dong Min went deep in the 13th inning to seal the victory.

Kang Seung-Ho was the big bat early for the Wyverns. His two run homerun in the fourth staked the Wyverns to a 3-0 lead. Jamie Romak drove in the first run in the opening frame on a ground out.

The Bears battled back. In the sixth Choi Joo-Hwan doubled in a run and Yang Eui-Ji drove in two with a single. Up until that point Merrill Kelly was breezing along with a five inning shutout. A hit by pitch, wild pitch and walk put two runners on to put him in trouble. Yang hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth to give the Bears a 4-3 lead.

The Bears called on Josh Lindblom to close out the game in the ninth. The Bears needed to win this game to take the series to a seventh game. Lindblom struck out the first two hitters. Choi Jeong was a different beast. The slugger took Lindblom deep with a drive over the left field wall.

For Wyvern manager Trey Hillman this is his second championship. He won his first in Japan with the Nippon Ham Fighters. He has already announced that this was his last season with the Wyverns. He will return to the United States where another major league team could give him an opportunity to manage.

Han Dong-Min was voted the Korean Series MVP. Han only went 4 for 21 in the series but he bookended his homeruns, hitting a two run shot in the first inning of game one. Han also ended game five of the semi-final with a walkoff homerun to get the Wyverns to the championship game.

Wyverns Pull to Within One of Korean Championship

Sunday, November 11th, 2018

The SK Wyverns are led by Trey Hillman, who has indicated this will be his last year of managing in Korea. He is one win away from managing the Wyverns to a Korean championship. Trey Hillman managed the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan and led them to their first ever Japan Series championship in 2006. In 1981 they had won their only Pacific Conference, but they failed to win the championship. Hllman also managed the Kansas City Royals in the major leagues but did not have any championship success there.

The Wyverns last won a Korean Series championship in 2010. They are one win away from winning their fourth championship after a 4-1 victory over the Doosan Bears.

Seth Frankoff, who won 18 games during the regular season was pitching a shutout through the first six innings for the Bears. The Bears had gone ahead 1-0 after a Jung Jin-Ho solo blast in the third inning had given them a 1-0 lead. Wyverns pitcher Park Jong-Hoon did not allow a run after that through five innings. It had all the appearances of ending as a rare 1-0 pitcher’s duel.

Sloppy fielding impeded the Bears from winning this game. A double by Kim Sung-Hyun drove in the Wyverns first run, and the only earned run they scored on the evening. An error by the leftfielder allowed Kim to advance to third where he scored on a fly ball to make it 2-1.

In the eighth a dropped pop up by the shortstop allowed two unearned runs to score. A single by Park Jung-Kwon scored the runner from second. The Wyverns then loaded the bases and a two out walk scored the second run of the inning to give the Wyverns a 4-1 lead.

Starter Angel Sanchez was called on to pitch a scoreless sixth. Kim Tae-Hoon pitched two scoreless innings and then Jung-Young-il closed out the game with a scoreless ninth. He did put two runners on in the ninth but a line out double play ended the Bears hope for a victory.

Lindblom Pitches Bears to Win

Saturday, November 10th, 2018

The only playoff series in town saw the Doosan Bears even their series against the SK Wyverns with a 2-1 win. Josh Lindblom went seven innings, allowing just three hits and one run. He struck out 10.

It appeared his outing would go for naught as Kim Kwang-Hyun threw six innings of shutout ball The Wyverns went to their bullpen and in the eight inning Jung Soo-Bin launched a two run homerun to give the Bears a 2-1 lead. Jung is not one of the more prolific homerun hitters in Korea, having hit just 19 in his 911 game 9 year career. But he came through last night.

Ham Duk-Go took over for Lindblom in the eighth and pitched two shutout innings to give him the victory. The series between the Bears and Wyverns is now tied at two games apiece.