New manager of reigning KBO champs vows to play entertaining baseball

November 15, 2018

INCHEON, Nov. 15 (Yonhap) — The new manager of the reigning South Korean baseball champions SK Wyverns said Thursday that he is looking to play entertaining baseball that satisfies fans.

Yeom Kyung-yup was formally introduced as the new manager for the 2018 Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) title holder and replaced outgoing skipper Trey Hillman. Yeom signed a three-year contract worth 700 million won (US$615,000) per year with the Wyverns on Tuesday. He was the Wyverns’ general manager before moving to a coaching job.

“I think entertaining baseball that can give joy and make people’s hearts pound will be welcomed by fans,” Yeom said at a ceremony in Incheon. “Hillman did a great job for the last two years, and … we discussed the process a lot. Because we executed it well, we were able to win the Korean Series.”

New SK Wyverns manager Yeom Kyung-yup speaks during his inauguration ceremony in Incheon on Nov. 15, 2018. (Yonhap)

New SK Wyverns manager Yeom Kyung-yup speaks during his inauguration ceremony in Incheon on Nov. 15, 2018. (Yonhap)

Yeom previously managed another KBO club, the Nexen Heroes, from 2013 to 2016 and went to the postseason in all four seasons. He compiled a 305-253-6 (wins-losses-ties) record with the Heroes, who lost to the Samsung Lions in the 2014 Korean Series.

The 50-year-old abruptly resigned from the Heroes job moments after being eliminated by the LG Twins in the first round of the playoffs in 2016. Then in January 2017, Yeom became the Wyverns’ general manager.

“It’s going to give me a special feeling when I face the Heroes,” he said. “The Heroes gave me an opportunity to manage a club and helped me a lot to reach this far.”

The Wyverns advanced to this year’s South Korean baseball championship series after taking the best-of-five KBO playoff series in five games. Yeom said he believes the Wyverns and the Heroes can keep playing exciting games when they square off. Game 5 of the playoff series ended in an 11-10 win for the Wyverns in extra innings.

“I’ve always thought that I grew up together with the Heroes’ players and coaches,” he said. “I don’t consider them rivals. I think of them as relatives.”

Yeom said there is some pressure in taking over a team that has just won the KBO title, but he is ready to overcome the difficulties.

“It’s going to be a lie to say that I don’t feel any pressure, but what’s important is the process,” he said. “If we can transplant the right system and approach to the Wyverns in the next three years, results will follow.”

Yeom said he will keep developing the style of baseball that Hillman played with the Incheon-based club. The new manager said he’ll especially focus on improving the team’s ability in defensive shifts, bullpen operations regarding setup men and executing plays in detail.