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Underdog manager hoping to end baseball title drought vs. former team

All Headlines 16:48 October 28, 2016

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Oct. 28 (Yonhap) -- The manager of the underdog baseball club in the upcoming championship series said Friday he'd like nothing more than to end his personal title drought against his former team.

The NC Dinos will face an uphill battle against the Doosan Bears when the Korean Series begins Saturday at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul, the Bears' home. The Bears are the defending champion who ran away with the pennant in 2016, while the Dinos finished second in the regular season by nine games.

But NC manager Kim Kyung-moon said his club is determined to put up a good fight, and also avenge the Dinos' postseason loss to the Bears last year.

The two clubs met in the second round in 2015, when the Bears eliminated the Dinos in five games.

"I've been thinking about the final game of last year," Kim said at the pre-Korean Series media day. "We'll try to turn the tables this year."

This is Kim's fourth trip to the Korean Series. His previous three appearances came with the Bears -- in 2005, 2007 and 2008 -- and his team lost each time.

Contestants of the Korean Series pose for pictures at the press conference held in Seoul on Oct. 28, 2016. From left: NC Dinos' third baseman Park Sok-min, designated hitter Lee Ho-jun and manager Kim Kyung-moon; Doosan Bears' manager Kim Tae-hyung, shortstop Kim Jae-ho and pitcher Yoo Hee-kwan. (Yonhap)

"There's nothing wrong with second place in baseball, but it really hurts nonetheless," he said. "I'd love to shed that image of coming in second all the time."

The Bears' manager, Kim Tae-hyung, won the 2015 championship in his first year on the bench. And he said the second consecutive title will taste even sweeter.

"After winning it all in my first year, I'd love to do it again this year," he said. "We had some time off after winning the pennant, and we've been preparing hard for this series."

The pennant winners advance straight to the Korean Series. The Dinos had to play in the second round, and knocked out the LG Twins in four games to reach the final.

Kim Kyung-moon, 58, and Kim Tae-hyung, 49, were teammates as catchers for the Bears in the early 1990s. And they offered words of mutual respect.

"I've seen Kim Kyung-moon for a long time, and he's a very modest man," Kim Tae-hyung said. "He's a very patient manager who trusts his players. I am trying to follow his style but it hasn't been easy."

The elder Kim praised the younger manager's leadership skills.

"He is a talented manager who can bring people together," Kim Kyung-moon added. "It's something I try to learn from him."

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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