He was dismissed due to poor performance, but former KIA manager liked Korea. “Fantastic experience, Lee Jung-hoo will bring that culture.”

Korea remains a good memory for Matt Williams (58), the first foreign coach of the Kia Tigers in the KBO League, the San Francisco Giants’ third base coach. He left Korea due to poor performance, but respected the culture there. He was also confident of success of Korean big leaguer Lee Jung-hoo (25), who is now on the same team.

The U.S. sports media “The Athletic” published a comment from coach Williams on the 9th (Korea time) while dealing with an article about Lee Jung-hoo. Coach Williams, who watched Kiwoom Heroes Lee Jung-hoo as an opponent team as KIA coach for two years from 2020 to 2021, is currently the person who knows him best in San Francisco. “Scouts have watched Lee Jung-hoo for a long time. I didn’t need my opinion,” coach Williams said, but he expected, “The team will be much better with Lee Jung-hoo.”마카오토토주소

The Athletic said, “Williams was the manager of KIA in the KBO League from 2020 to 2021. I know how hard Lee Jung-hoo is making opposing pitchers suffer,” adding, “Williams is confident that Lee Jung-hoo will continue to grow. Williams believes that he is the kind of player who can lead his team to victory.”

“There were only 10 teams in the KBO League, so I had many chances to take on Kiwoom,” Williams said. “Lee is really, really good. He is one of the players that makes me think, ‘Wow, that player is good at everything.’ He is a good defender and the best hitter in the league. There are also areas that are invisible to the public. He is a good runner and has a good understanding of the game. Seeing him in the opponent team’s dugout, he seemed to be a good teammate who helped and supported everyone,” he said, expressing how he saw Lee when he was in Korea.

“There are a few things that I pay attention to Lee Jung-hoo. What do I do when I’m not holding the bat? How can I affect the game? You can get a hit at the bat, but what will happen if you go on a ferry? I think those are the best traits that Lee has. He has an excellent understanding of the game, and he likes to play like that,” Williams said, stressing that he has a lot of contributions other than batting.

While most of them talked about Lee Jung-hoo, The Athletic also reported about Williams’ time in Korea. Williams, who was coach of the Oakland Athletics in 2019, was informed by Kia that he was interested in the team after the end of that year’s season. Back then, he planned to maintain the coach position in Oakland next year, and he never thought he would go to Korea as a coach.

However, Kia tried to find a foreign coach to change the team’s atmosphere, and the deal went smoothly and sincerely. “At first, I thought that talking to a foreign coach would not be bad for me,” Coach Williams said. However, Kia told me that they were on an airplane bound for LA to present the contract. We met at a hotel next to the airport, and within five minutes after the meeting started, I had the contract in my hand. So I had to make a decision,” he said, recalling the lightning process of accepting Kia’s unexpected offer.

Williams, who won the National League Manager of the Year Award in 2014 with the Washington Nationals, failed to do so in Korea. A former big-name manager with 378 home runs in the Major League, he drew keen attention as a manager, but failed to advance to the fall baseball league for the second consecutive year as he ranked sixth in 2020 (73 wins, 71 losses, winning percentage .507) and ninth in 2021 (58 wins, 76 losses, 10 draws, and .433). Ranked ninth is the lowest since its inception. Due to repeated sluggish performance, Kia has given the company a fresh air of reform within the company, and all of its leaders have been replaced. Although he signed a three-year contract, he had to resign with one year left. Despite Kia’s poor performance, Coach Williams also came under strong criticism for its excessive dependence on certain players and rigid management of the game.

Though he left Korea unfortunately, Coach Williams did not resent him. “It was a fantastic experience. We were the only players in the league (early in the COVID-19 pandemic). There were many difficulties due to the strict rules and regulations caused by COVID-19, but I was able to experience a different culture. I got a chance to coach and see the best players in Korea. It was fun and challenging,” he recalled.

Williams, who served as the San Diego Padres’ third base and infielder coach at the behest of Bob Melvin, who has known each other for a long time since his retirement from KIA, has been with Kim Ha-sung for two years from 2022 to 2023. Then, this year, he moved to San Francisco with Melvin and met with another Korean player, Lee Jung-hoo. At this juncture, Korea is not meant to be with Korea.

Coach Williams, who watched Kim Ha-sung’s adaptation and success in the league in San Diego, is confident that Lee Jung-hoo will follow the same path. Furthermore, he expects that he will instill Korean culture in his team. “I really liked Korean culture. Korean players respect the game, teachers and coaches. They also enjoyed the game as they played intensely. Lee Jung-hoo will bring all of these things to his team,” Williams said.

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