Maybe we’re the most veiled team.” (March 11) “Looking at our players, I didn’t think the results would be bad as long as they stick together well.” (December 29)헤라카지노
Ahead of his first season as an official coach, coach Kang In-kwon diagnosed himself that the NC Dinos had many question marks. Drew Lucinski left for the Major League and changed all three foreign players, and Yang Eui-ji, the national catcher who showed more than one player in offense and defense, returned to the Doosan Bears. There were many prospects in pitching and hitting, but it was unclear what kind of performance they would show. Because of these many question marks, it was natural for NC to be pointed out as the lowest rank before the opening.
Looking back, the team was not weak at all. NC once ranked No. 1 in April, heralding a sensation from the beginning. It fell to sixth place per day on May 3, returned to fifth place immediately, and finished fourth in the first half. In September, the team had 15 wins, eight losses and a winning rate of 0.652 per month, jumping into the “top three” competition with LG Twins and KT Wiz.
Catcher Kim Hyung-joon and set-up man Kim Young-kyu, main shortstop Kim Ju-won, struggled during the absence due to their participation in the Hangzhou Asian Games, and ended the regular season in fourth place, but NC’s real power was revealed in the fall. Although he used 20 wins, 206 strikeouts, super ace, and Triple Crown protagonist Eric Peddy in only one game, he continued to win consecutive games in fall baseball.
The team advanced to the semi-playoff by beating Doosan, which was evaluated to be ahead in the starting matchup, and thus was expected to be able to set up the first wild card game in history. In the semi-playoff where they met the third-ranked SSG Landers, they overcame their inferiority in the starting matchup to succeed in the upset with three consecutive wins. In the playoff with KT, they caught both of their first two games and won six consecutive games, the longest postseason tie. Although they suffered frustration with one win left to advance to the Korean Series, they finished the 2023 season with warm applause.
How does Kang feel about what he considered a question mark in the early days of this season? During a telephone conversation on Monday, Kang said, “Those question marks… I think they came out more than I had anticipated before the season. Looking at our team’s players before the opening, I thought that the result would not be bad as long as they stick together well. I think we have a good result because our players made a good season.” I did not say it openly, but I felt confident in myself.