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Why did Samsung Lions manager Sun abruptly quit?

Posted December. 31, 2010 11:32,   


The manager of the pro baseball team Daegu Samsung Lions, Sun Dong-yol, abruptly resigned Thursday despite winning two league titles in his six-year tenure.

Since Sun became manager in 2005, the team had played in the postseason every year except for last year and won the 2005 and 2006 Korean Series.

A few years ago, a rumor spread in Samsung Group that the team was faring poorly compared to the amount of money spent on it. A team source said, “Since the Lions were not as popular as teams that spent less money and failed to win the championship for a few years, many (within the group) grumbled about this.”

The clincher was this season’s Korean Series against the Incheon SK Wyverns, with top executives of Samsung Group reportedly angry after the Lions were swept in four games.

Others say Sun’s style of defensive baseball failed to win over Lions fans in Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province, the team’s base. The Lions showed a good record but disappointed hardcore fans who had hoped for more offense.

Sun had as allies former team president Kim Eung-yong and former general manager Kim Jae-ha. Above them was Kim Hak-soo, a former close adviser to Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee.

After Kim Hak-soo stepped down from his leadership position in the conglomerate, the other two Kims also resigned. They were the ones who suggested that Sun get a five-year contract extension in the middle of last season despite the team not making the playoffs.

After former Samsung SDS President Kim In was appointed team president and Song Sam-bong general manager, Sun had little room to stay. Some say his resignation was expected after Kim Eung-yong retired.

The Samsung Lions said Sun will remain with the team in an advisory role but this remains to be seen. He will likely get offers to manage other teams after he takes a year-long break. “I’ll take this opportunity to recharge,” he said.

uni@donga.com sublime@donga.com