Wed. Jun 7th, 2023

‘New Lotte’ is hitting the KBO League in the 2023 season.

Lotte players went home last weekend with a ‘surprise gift’. The club was asked to choose between a hair styling device and a headset (worth 38 million won in total). The sender is Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin, the owner of the club. The letter was accompanied by the owner’s signature. The reaction from players and fans is hot. An official from A interpreted, “From the composition of the gift, the owner’s message, and the autograph, you can see a meticulous touch that was not seen in Lotte before.”

Earlier this year, 안전놀이터Chairman Shin Dong-bin ordered and declared a ‘new Lotte’ to overcome the economic crisis and strengthen the group’s competitiveness. This is also connected to the operation of the Lotte Giants. 

As of the 8th, Lotte is in second place with 15 wins and 9 losses (0.625 win rate). At the point of playing more than 10 games in the season, it took 3949 days to rise to the top, and it was on the rise by winning 9 consecutive wins in 15 years. 

Lotte Holdings made a paid-in capital increase of 19 billion won to the Lotte baseball team in October of last year. This is not only to improve the financial structure, such as improving the debt ratio and reducing interest expenses, but also to secure investment funds. At the time, Lotte revealed the reason for the support, “to give wings to the club’s emergency in the 2023 season.” It is impossible without the support and permission of the owner (Chairman Shin Dong-bin). 

Lotte spent a total of 26 billion won (contract period of up to 5 years) to sign contracts with Park Se-woong (up to 9 billion won), Yoo Kang-nam (8 billion won), Roh Jin-hyuk (5 billion won), and Han Hyun-hee (4 billion won). Investments in Shenzhen earlier this year are bearing fruit. 

Lotte was not a club that was stingy in investing in the baseball team. Seven years ago, he also made a paid-in capital increase of 30 billion won, and spent the most money on free agency contracts in the league over the past 10 years. However, even though it ranked first in annual salary for two consecutive years in 2019 and 2020, it did not lead to performance compared to investment. In the past 10 years, the team has only made it to the postseason once. 

An official from A said, “Even if we made extensive investments in the past, the results were not good. Nevertheless, the interest of the owner is the same, such as supporting the baseball team through paid-in capital increase.” 

The ‘skinship’ between Chairman Shin Dong-bin and the baseball team has definitely increased. In the past two years, he visited Jamsil in Seoul and Sajik Stadium in Busan a total of three times. He attended Lee Dae-ho’s retirement ceremony and presented him with a permanent missing ring. Last year, smartwatches were given to the 1st and 2nd team players, and this year, the 1st team team and assistants were also provided.

It draws attention in line with the appearance of Shinsegae Vice Chairman Jeong Yong-jin (owner of SSG Landers), who jumped into professional baseball in 2021. An official from B introduced, “Chairman Shin supports and cares for the team in a meticulous yet silent manner rather than revealing it on the surface.” 

Lotte is strengthening communication with fans. An event was held to unveil new uniforms and VI (Visual Identity) by inviting fans to a landmark space in Busan. On the 3rd, after trying to win 10 games in a row in the Gwangju away game, Lotte opened the home Sajik Stadium for free and held a cheering match through the electronic display board. 

Lee Kang-hoon, CEO of the Lotte Giants, who was appointed last December, is a public relations expert. According to a team official, he has been in charge of his affiliate, the Giants, for a long time since working for Lotte Holdings, so he has a high understanding of the baseball team. It is also evaluated that he has a deep affection for the baseball team and is good at boosting the morale of the players and the front desk. He is also a positive influence in expanding contact points with fans in public relations and marketing. 

Lotte general manager Seong Min-gyu, who has been in office for the fourth year, put all his energy into the formation of the team this year after going through a severe salary diet. He stuck to strengthening the team’s strength until he recruited 7 Bangseon, including Kim Sang-soo and Ahn Kwon-soo. An official from C said, “We invested in scouting, training, and technology (scientific training such as pitching labs) for three years, and gave us time and opportunity to settle down.” It is also in line with the fact that I sent a coach and appointed a domestic coach.” 

In the offseason, Lotte recruited senior coach Park Heung-sik, pitching coach Bae Young-soo, and battery coach Choi Gyeong-cheol. Coach Larry Sutton, in the final season of the contract, is actively collecting opinions from the coaching staff through communication. Such as the starting 1+1 strategy and one-beat fast pitcher replacement. Coach D said, “I know the story of Bomde (Lotte, which is only strong in spring). In the end, it is important to pass May and June well.”

Lotte’s future investment is gradually paying off. Overtaking Sangmu (Odds Rate 0.750), who took first place for 11 consecutive years, the Lotte Futures (Second Division) team continues to lead the Southern League (Odds Rate 0.789). 

The Lotte players from Kudo Busan are gathering their strength for the first fall baseball in six years. Chairman Shin Dong-bin promised in a letter to the players, “Thank you. Please throw, hit and run again without regret. I will cheer and support you until the end.” 

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