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Can Jang Jong-hoon Win the Home Run Derby Title?

Posted July. 15, 2005 03:02,   


Baseball Stars Will Shine in Incheon.

The Korean Baseball League All-Star Game will be held in Munhak Stadium, Incheon at 5:00 p.m. on July 16. Various events will be held to celebrate the 100th anniversary of baseball`s introduction to Korea,

A total of 40 players from eastern teams (Samsung Lions, Doosan Bears, Lotte Giants, and SK Wyverns) and western teams (Hyundai Unicorns, Kia Tigers, LG Twins, Hanhwa Eagles) will appear in the All-star game. The best 10 players of each team are selected by fans` favorite player vote, while 20 others are selected by coaches of each team. Sun Dong-ryul of the Samsung Lions and Kim Jae-bak of the Hyundai Unicorns, who competed in last year`s championship match, will coach the East and West teams. The all- time game record favors the East over the West by 17-11.

The greatest interest of the game will be the Most Valuable Player title. Typically, hitters have more chance to become MVP than pitchers, who normally appear in less innings. Only two pitchers have been awarded MVP trophies in 23 all-star games.

MVP candidates include Jeong Soo-keun of the Lotte Giants, who drew the all-time high number of votes this year in Korean all-star game history, Last year`s MVP, Shim Jung-soo, and Yang Joon-hyuk of Samsung Lions, who recently came out of slump, Lotte Giants` fellow foreign sluggers Pelow and Rion, Lee Byung-kyu of LG Twins, who is currently leading the league`s hitting rankings, and Sertain of the Hyundai Unicorns, who is No.1 in this year’s home run rankings.

The Home Run Derby final, to be held after the fifth inning, also draws fans` interest. A total of 13 players will appear in the contest, and key players include Jang Jong-hoon, Hanhwa Eagles coach and who led the league in the home runs several times in the past, who accepted an invitation. Song Jin-woo, Jang Jong-hoon`s alumni at Segwang High School, volunteered to pitch for the event.

In the Old-Star Game, to be held on the eve of the All Star Game at 4:00 p.m., many former stars will appear, including Sun Dong-ryul, Kim Jae-bak, Kim Kyung-moon (Doosan Bears head coach), Lee Soon-chul, head coach of the LG Twins, head coach Yang Sang-moon of the Lotte Giants, pitching coach Choi Dong-won of the Hanhwa Eagles, coach Jeong Sam-heum of the Shinil High School Baseball Team, coach Kim Sung-han of the baseball team of Kunsan Commercial High School, and Lee Jong-do, the coach of Korea University baseball. The players will be divided into a KBO (Korea Baseball Organization) team and a KBA (Korea Baseball Association) team and play a seven-inning game. It is the second time this even will be held following the first game held in 2002.

Various other events include goodwill games between female baseball teams, a cheerleading dance festival, and a baseball uniform-inspired fashion show.

Sung-Kyu Kim kimsk@donga.com