SSG, SK ‘erase colours’ in earnest after parting ways with championship-winning coach
The SSG Landers have parted ways with their head coach after leading the team to its first championship, prompting observers to speculate that the team’s “erasure of the SK Wyverns colours” is in full swing.
SSG announced on the 31st of last month that it had terminated the contract of former head coach Kim Won-hyung. Kim, who took over as SK’s head coach in November 2020, signed a three-year, $2.2 billion contract after leading the team to a unified title in 2022. However, SSG sacked Kim with two years left on his contract.
After winning the unified title last year, SSG showed off its ‘defending champion’ credentials at the beginning of this season by forming a two-way tie with LG Twins. However, 바카라사이트 the team suffered a severe slump in the second half of the season, falling to sixth place at one point.
The team rallied late in the season to finish third in the regular season and qualify for the semi-playoffs (best-of-five series), but a three-game sweep at the hands of the NC Dinos resulted in an early exit from the autumn baseball stage.
The SSG team said the reason for terminating Kim’s contract was not due to his performance. “There was an opinion that we needed a leader to lead a generation change, change, and innovation, and we made the decision after thinking about it,” SSG President Kim Sung-yong said the day before.
Although SSG claimed to be changing the generation, it is widely believed that SSG is shedding the SK colours in earnest.
Shinsegae Group’s E-Mart acquired SK Telecom’s baseball team in January 2021 for KRW 135.2 billion.
With the acquisition taking place about two months before the start of the regular season that year, Shinsegae took over 100 per cent of the players and front office. The people who had made up the SK Baseball Team for the first two years of its existence were left to run the club.
However, changes have been detected. A prime example of this was the voluntary resignation of Ryu, who was instrumental in SSG’s first unified championship last year.
Ryu was a key part of the SK Baseball front office. He joined SK in 2001, the year after the club was founded, and has been with the team for more than 20 years. He worked his way up to the front office after holding various positions, including head of marketing, head of public relations, head of development, head of strategic planning, and head of the data analytics group.
Ryu’s resignation was unusual as he was credited with contributing significantly to last year’s unified championship.
Amid reports that the owner’s closest associates, who were not involved in baseball operations, were involved in the team’s decision-making and hiring during the season, the general consensus was that Ryu was forced out due to internal issues.
Add to that the dismissal of Kim, a former pitcher who was a key player in the SK dynasty and rose to the top, and SK’s colours became even paler.
Coincidentally, a number of former SK coaches have also recently left the team.
Chae Byung-yong, who led the SK dynasty, has been informed by the club that his contract will not be renewed, and Lee Jin-young has also left the team. Chung Kyung-bae and Kim Min-jae moved to the Hanwha Eagles and Lotte Giants, respectively, while Cho Woong-chun and Jeong Sang-ho moved to the Doosan Bears and Lotte, respectively.
This is why it has been pointed out that SSG is forcibly erasing the SK colours by making such a ‘whirlwind’ of personnel changes.
Since Kim’s dismissal was so drastic, there is also a lot of interest in who SSG will appoint. Rumours abound that former major leaguers Park Chan-ho and Choo Shin-soo are in the running.
“We haven’t even selected a candidate yet,” Kim said, adding, “We will appoint someone who understands the direction of the club and can help us achieve a more active generation change.”