SEOUL, Long title droughts came to an end this fall in baseball leagues around the world. And two key players for the LG Twins in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) said Monday it is their turn to join the party.
The Twins will chase their first KBO title in 29 years when the Korean Series against the KT Wiz begins Tuesday.
Oh Ji-hwan of the LG Twins walks past the Korean Series championship trophy before the media day press conference at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Nov. 6, 2023.
On Sunday, the Hanshin Tigers captured their first Japan Series title since 1985. Earlier this month, the Texas Rangers won the first World Series in franchise history in their 63rd season.
The Twins' drought isn't nearly as long, but that doesn't mean they aren't as desperate.
"I suppose heaven helps those who help themselves. I think the desperate teams all won titles there," said Twins captain Oh Ji-hwan at the media day press conference Monday. "And we are desperate, too."
Starter Im Chan-kyu chimed in: "Hopefully, those winning spirits from America and Japan will reach us. I think it's our time to win a title. Since the start of spring training, we've been working toward this one goal. We've never had any doubt for one second."
Im Chan-kyu of the LG Twins speaks during the Korean Series media day press conference at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Nov. 6, 2023.
Im, who grew up a Twins fan, said he has "vivid memories" of how the Twins lost the Korean Series in 2002, their most recent trip to the championship round. The Samsung Lions hit two home runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to turn a 9-5 deficit to a 10-9 win in the clinching Game 6.
"I remember every little detail about that series," Im said. "I remember crying so much the morning after and telling my parents I didn't want to go to school that day. And to have a chance to play in the Korean Series all these years later, I guess I've done pretty well for myself."
The Wiz, meanwhile, will not be a pushover. They won their first Korean Series in 2021, and half of the players from that title-winning team will be back in action this month.
Park Yeong-hyun of the KT Wiz speaks during the Korean Series media day press conference at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Nov. 6, 2023.
That group includes 2021 Korean Series MVP Park Kyung-su, a defensive wizard at second base.
"The feeling of winning the championship is something that I wouldn't trade with anything else," Park said. "We've come a long way to get to this point, and we want to enjoy the experience with our fans. The Twins are a great team, and the series won't end so quickly. And if we win it in Game 7, it will make our fans even happier."
Reliever Park Yeong-hyun, who made his KBO debut in 2022, said he had a mixed bag of nerves and excitement heading into his first Korean Series.
"If the last game of the year is Game 7 of the Korean Series, it will be quite a thrill," Park added.
Source: Yonhap News Agency