Baseball fever is hotter than ever in Busan these days. This is because the Lotte Giants are performing well. As of the 24th, Lotte is in third place with 23 wins, 15 losses, and a winning percentage of 0.605, behind SSG and LG. They are only two games behind the leaders. The crowd for the Sajik-Lotte-NC game on the 23rd was 15,047. It set a new attendance record for a Tuesday game this season.
Lotte’s run is also helping to drive the KBO’s box office. As of the 20th, the KBO has surpassed 2 million fans in 181 games (2,017,400). In the 10-team system, it took 101 games to reach the 1 million mark, the fifth fastest in history. It took another 90 games to reach the 2 million mark, which is also the fifth fastest after 2017 (71 games), 2016 (77 games), 2018 (83 games), and 2015 (86 games).
SSG ace Kim Kwang-hyun, who picked up his third win of the season with a six-inning no-hitter (one hit, nine strikeouts) in front of a sellout crowd against Sasik Lotte on April 20, also felt Lotte’s popularity.먹튀검증
“Lotte was very popular during Coach Royster’s time, so there were a lot of people in the crowd, and it felt good. I personally have a lot of good memories of playing against Lotte. It was actually a down period for baseball. Our performance in the WBC was not good. But it felt so good and happy to throw the ball in front of so many people. It was fun and I think I really enjoyed the game.” Kim Kwang-hyun said.
“Our SSG fans are also passionate, but even among the players, we jokingly say, ‘Lotte must do well’ because Lotte has so many fans and is so passionate. That’s why I hope that baseball will continue to be popular as the players compete with each other in good faith. Since there are so many fans, I think the players need to play their best,” he added.
The players, coaching staff, and club staff can’t help but smile at Lotte’s success. While the team’s success is incomparably gratifying, the number of requests for tickets, jerseys, and autographed balls from acquaintances has skyrocketed, and it’s no joke that “even the uncle of the in-laws are asking for favors.
“It seems like when you work for a baseball team, tickets, jerseys, and autographed balls just fall out of the sky,” said a team official. Sometimes you can politely decline a favor and still get shouted down. It’s easy to lose respect.” Another lamented, “My workload is skyrocketing, and I can’t even handle the calls from acquaintances.” The same goes for the players.
The same can be said for athletes, some of whom find themselves scrambling to fulfill favors from friends when they should be preparing for games. Some officials have set up notifications on their mobile messengers to politely decline requests for tickets, jerseys, and autographed balls. I wonder if they ever did this.
While Lotte’s rise to prominence is certainly welcome news, it’s safe to say that the constant requests from acquaintances are more of a pain than a happy scream for members of the Giants.