Go to Contents Go to Navigation

Manager of baseball's defending champions calls on players to stay grounded

All Headlines 17:02 March 08, 2018

By Yoo Jee-ho

INCHEON, March 8 (Yonhap) -- The Kia Tigers may have won the South Korean baseball championship last year, but their manager Kim Ki-tai has told his players that they shouldn't be acting like big shots.

Kim led his Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) club back from their spring training in Okinawa, Japan, on Thursday. The Tigers spent a little over a month there preparing to defend their title.

And during the camp, Kim's most important message to his players didn't have anything to do with baseball techniques. Instead, it was about players' attitude on and off the field.

This file photo taken Nov. 14, 2017, shows Kia Tigers manager Kim Ki-tai. (Yonhap)

"I kept telling them they should never forget where they came from and they should always stay grounded and play hard for our fans," Kim told reporters at Incheon International Airport. "I told them they should treat our fans and the game of baseball with respect. We don't want to hear that we've become cocky just because we won the championship last year."

The Tigers won both the regular season title and the Korean Series championship in 2017, their first title since 2009. It was also Kim's first championship win as a manager.

He said he didn't really make a lot of changes in the training camp just because the Tigers were the defending champions, but the collective confidence of the team improved dramatically.

"I think we're a more confident bunch now because we've won a championship and we know what it takes to win," Kim said. "Our young players have taken huge strides and new faces have also stepped up. I am grateful for their efforts."

Kim noted that other teams have improved over the winter and defending the title is far from an easy task.

"We have to remember what worked so well for us last year and try to build on that this year," he said. "We have to be on the top of our game from start to finish."

This photo provided by the Kia Tigers baseball club shows the players and coaches throwing their hats in the air at the end of their spring training in Okinawa, Japan, on March 7, 2018. (Yonhap)


Send Feedback
How can we improve?
Thanks for your feedback!