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(Yonhap Interview) Baseball scout Ryan Sadowski finds constant managerial changes in S. Korea 'unfamiliar'

All News 07:59 April 04, 2016

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, April 4 (Yonhap) -- Ryan Sadowski pitched for three seasons in South Korea for the Lotte Giants and is now in his second season as a scout for the same club. Yet there's still something that the 33-year-old American finds odd in baseball culture here: constant managerial changes.

"It's one of those things that's unfamiliar to me as a foreigner," Sadowski told Yonhap News Agency last Friday at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, where the Giants faced the Nexen Heroes to open the 2016 Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) season.

"It's unusual to see it with good teams in Korea; it's different to me," Sadowski added.

He was asked about his thoughts on the Giants' hiring of their second manager in two seasons. After the 2014 season, the Giants hired Lee Jong-woon to replace Kim Si-jin, who'd resigned after missing the postseason in back-to-back years. Lee lasted only one season, before giving the reins to Cho Won-woo last October.

Cho, 44, is the Giants' third manager since the start of the 2014 season. Among other clubs, the Hanwha Eagles have gone through three managers since the start of 2012, not counting an interim manager. Last year, Kim Tae-hyung managed the Doosan Bears to the Korean Series championship, as the club's third bench boss in three seasons.

Sadowski, who once pitched for the San Francisco Giants, noted that the big league club has only had four managers over the past three decades: Roger Craig, Dusty Baker, Felipe Alou and the current skipper, Bruce Bochy.

"I guess the best way I can say is I don't really understand the constant changing," Sadowski added. "But I do know it's something culturally different."

All of this is coming from a former pitcher who endeared himself to fans for openly embracing the Korean culture and language: Sadowski eventually became so proficient in Korean that he could tweet in his second language without assistance.

After going 29-24 with a 4.03 ERA from 2010 to 2012 for the Giants, Sadowski rejoined the club last year as the "scout coach."

Sadowski himself said last year it was "an unusually creative job title." His role is to work with the Giants' three foreign players -- pitchers Brooks Raley and Josh Lindblom, and outfielder Jim Adduci -- and also feeding information to the coaching staff based on what he sees in the United States.

Sadowski said he attends about 30 KBO games a season and 110 more in the United States, either in the majors or in Triple-A.

"It's not about forcing my will but about presenting (information) on what teams are doing in the States so we can make progress," Sadowski said. "That's what scouts do; they provide information."

The Giants have missed the postseason in each of the past three years. They went 58-69-1 (wins-losses-ties) in 2014 and when the season expanded from 128 games to 144 games last year, they went 66-77-1 to finish eighth.

Sadowski said the Giants were a much better team than their record showed, and now they're ready to take another step forward.

"Now we've put ourselves into a position of being a winning team," he said. "I don't know if being over .500 will necessarily make us a playoff team. I think that if we stay healthy, play hard every day and focus, we can win 75-plus games."

Lindblom, Raley and Adduci will hold the key to the Giants' success. The Giants missed the postseason despite their strong performances -- Lindblom and Raley combined for 24 wins, and Adduci had 28 home runs, 106 RBIs and 24 steals -- and they will have to do much of the same or more.

"I am glad we brought them back," Sadowski said. "These guys are hungry. I am confident that they'll be productive this year."


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