Posted May. 09, 2005 23:30,
In January 1981, in a shabby restaurant somewhere in Anam-dong, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul, the welcoming ceremony for the freshmen players of Korea Universitys baseball team was held.
The boy with a shaved head who would soon graduate from high school gulped down makkoli (rice wine) out of buckwheat bowl in front of the all-mighty senior players. The boy, who would later become famous for drinking great amounts of alcohol, even had to run to the bathroom after drinking out of the bowl.
Twenty-four years later, the three university alumni who were at the restaurant, including the mentioned young freshman, have grown up to become the managers of the three powerhouses in pro baseball and are now waging a friendly competition with each other.
As of May 9, first place Doosans manager Kim Kyung-moon (47), second place Samsungs Sun Dong-yul (42), and third place Lotte manager Yang Sang-moon (44) are the three alumni.
Kim is the eldest Korea University alumnus, entering the school in 1978, Yang followed in 1979, and Sun was admitted in 1981. Having gone to university together, they went through successful careers as players, changed into skippers, and are now starting their era of success.
Manager Yang said, It feels like only yesterday that we used to play together, but Im proud now since that, as managers, each of us has found our relative space. I received much help from Kim, with whom I have played since elementary school. As for Sun, he was such a man of integrity during our university years that he was never scolded for anything.
Sun reminisced, I remember when I first entered college, Kim was my roommate and that made me distressed. And as pitchers, I was close to Yang.
Although privately they are close enough to call each other brothers, in the world of professional sports they are coldhearted. They watch each other from the dugouts and confront each other with their pride.
Kims praised for being soft on the outside but charismatic and firmly commands his players. Yang is more of an older brother type, but he runs his team rationally by adhering to principles. Sun, leading a star-studded team, only has one year experience as a manager, but is highly evaluated for his superb experience as a player and using players strictly according to their ability.
MBC baseball analyst Huh Goo-yeon, who is also a Korea University alumnus from 1971, evaluated the three managers, They all have short careers as managers, but they all have their own conviction and philosophy. Everyone shares the common point of knowing to fix their mistakes quickly and bind the players and management into one.
These managers will face each other this week. Doosan, with a nine-game winning streak, will play three games each, against Samsung and Lotte. It will be interesting to watch the managers, who go back such a long way, duel out their minds.