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“Wildness Pushed Me to Be a Closer”

Posted July. 11, 2007 03:13,   


Samsung coach Sun Dong-ryeol often calls the Japanese national baseball team coach Senichi Hoshino the wildest coach he’s ever seen.

As Chunichi Dragons closer from 1996 to 1999, Hoshino favored Sun. Still, some “wild” memories are lingering with Sun.

According to Sun, Hoshino would not let go of an error. Once the inning was over, Hoshino “greeted” the player in the dugout with harsh words and, sometimes, slaps. At the same time, Hoshino was also generous in granting special awards to those who gave him satisfaction.

“One day, Mr. Hoshino pulled a player into the dugout. Then, he punched him in the cheek. The player could not eat for several days,” recalls Sun.

The same happened to pitchers. Hoshino punched and kicked pitchers who made silly mistakes or allowed walks.

Sun, fortunately, was a rare exception in that respect. He was the guy Hoshino could count on. Sun recorded 98 saves with a 2.70 ERA.

Sun reportedly held his breath when he did not perform well in his first year in the Japanese pro league.

“I guess I was ‘saved’ only because I was a foreigner. It was kind of foreigner’s privilege. When he was angry with me, I heard him say, ‘D*** it!’ It sounded like I should go back to Korea. I realized I had to do better,” remembers Sun.

Sometimes, Hoshino went too far. But, Sun says, he made players stronger and tougher.

The two old “buddies” will meet as opponents in the Olympic preliminaries in December. Sun will lead the national team, and Hoshino will coach Team Japan.

In the meanwhile, Hoshino left for Taiwan Monday after a four-day visit to Seoul.