Posted December. 13, 2007 03:07,
In a first, Lotte named Jerry Royster of the Milwaukee Brewers of Major League Baseball as its next coach late last month.
Royster visited Korea for a day to familiarize himself with the team and its players. On his return to the U.S., he took DVDs of Lottes matches with him to watch. By the time he returns to Korea to lead the team on January 8, he will know everything he needs to know about the team.
He may not be in Korea at the moment, but the impact of the Royster effect can be felt clearly. The players are working harder than ever to secure their spot in the starting lineup. This is because they know for a fact, in Roysters eyes, there will be no superstar players. Long-time starting pitcher Kang Min-ho, who started more than 125 games, has frequently told everyone, I have to work hard to make sure Im a starter next year. Outfielder Jeong Su-geun, who came in as a free agent and signed a $4 million dollar 6-year contract, but who proved to be a disappointment, has sworn to get better.
Jeong was stripped of his green light privileges by his former manager, and is more determined than ever to make a lasting impression on the new manager with his A game. He even volunteered to act as the head of the teams players union and do his part as the senior player of the team.
Pitcher Song Seung-joon, who played in the Minor Leagues, provided his teammates with a preview of whats to come based on his experience. Song said I didnt play for Royster, but its a fact that he will not tolerate players walking through anything, even during training or exercises. An interpreter has been hired for the new manager, but regardless of this fact, some dedicated players are working hard to learn English so as to communicate better with the new manager.
Lotte hasnt been successful in bringing new talent to the team for next years season. They came close to acquiring FA Lee Ho-joon (SK), but failed to sign him. They plan to sign at least 2 foreign pitchers to round out their staff.
A Lotte official explained Royster knows a lot of good players in the Minor Leagues, so through him we should be able to find some pitchers for our team. He also added, The new clean-up trio of the team will be built around Lee Dae-ho. Seo Jeong-ho, who just completed his mandatory military service, and Jo Seong-hwan. They are the favorites to become the new core of our lineup.
Fans in Busan are brimming with anticipation and hope that Royster may be the Guus Hiddink of baseball theyve been waiting for.