There are many baseball fans in Busan whose quality of life depends on the performance of the Lotte Giants for a week. This reporter was one of them, and his love of baseball led him to start the ‘Busan Baseball Memoirs’ series. Through this project, we were able to meet baseball players in Busan, from the baseball club members of Yangjeong Elementary School, who are dreamers of Korean baseball, to Park Min-sung, a member of the women’s national baseball team. As the baseball stories piled up, ‘Busan Baseball Storybook’ reached its thirteenth installment.
In addition to articles, ‘Busan Baseball Silhouette’ captures stories through interviews, so there were some stories that could not be captured due to the limited amount of content. Today, we’re going to tell you some of the stories we couldn’t tell and the stories behind the interviews.
One of the most memorable interviews we did was with Cheerleader George Hoon. In fact, he was supposed to be the first interview when we started planning Busan Baseball Silo. However, as the Lotte Giants gained momentum in April and May, his schedule became increasingly busy. This could have made it difficult for the interview to take place, but he was kind enough to give up his time to speak with us.
The Lotte Giants have always been a source of pride for their fans, even when the team was not performing well. As such, we had a lot of questions to ask, and the response from the community was overwhelming. For more than 30 minutes, the cheerleading squad leader, George Hoon, sincerely answered questions from the Busan Baseball Reporters and Lotte Giants fans, with the most common topic being the cheer. With so many cheerleaders under his belt, how does he create them?
What is the process of creating the Lotte Giants’ cheer?
We have our own music director. If we have an original song, we can discuss it, but if we have to write our own, the director and I compose and write together. I make the first humming or melody, and the director listens to it and makes corrections. I think it’s been about four years since we’ve done it this way.
The Lotte Giants’ individual player cheers began in earnest around 2007. At the time, the creation of the individual cheers was a big adventure for George Hoon.
At that time, the Lotte players I saw had their own distinct personalities compared to the batting order, and I remember that there were no similar types of hitters from the first to the ninth position. There were players who were good at defense but not hitting, players who were too big but really good at hitting, and players who were weak at running the bases compared to hitting. So I thought, “Why don’t we make individual cheers?” At that time, the batting order also had cheers for the representative players, but it was rare for the first to the ninth position to have a cheer. We prepared it during the 2006 season and unveiled it in 2007, but we got a lot of flak for it. (Laughs) We got a lot of flak for saying things like, “Players get spoiled,” “You can’t concentrate on baseball when you have a cheer playing,” and “You get celebrity disease.” Then, starting in 2008, the Lotte Giants were on the rise, and fortunately, the cheer started to get a lot of love. The players were having a lot of fun, and I think it was a time when everyone around me was having a lot of fun, too, when I think back to the days of Coach Royster.
In recent years, there has been a new addition to the Lotte Giants’ cheering section. Since this season, Yang Hye-bin has been leading the cheerleaders in the newly created position of Assistant Cheerleader. In June, head coach Choi Ji-hoon was absent due to an exchange event with Rakuten cheerleaders in Taiwan, and Yang Hye-bin led Lotte’s cheerleaders alone during the six-game away series without him. During the six-game series, the cheer started with the unfamiliar “Let’s run!” chant instead of the familiar “Let’s move to the music!” chant. Yang Hye-bin also made her debut as a cheerleader by adding her own colors.
As the Lotte Giants boast a huge fan base, the position of cheerleading coach must have come as a huge burden to Yang. However, it was thanks to the fans that he was able to overcome the pressure little by little, he told the Busan Baseball Reporter during the interview.
I have fans who have been cheering for me since I was a cheerleader, and they are still cheering for me now that I am the vice cheerleader. When I was a cheerleader, they would often hold up cameras to capture my cheerleading, but since I’ve become a vice captain, I’ve been asked to hold a microphone and give cheerleading instructions, and now they put down their cameras and cheer at the top of their lungs. When I’m too nervous, they shout at me to relax and encourage me. (Laughs)
When asked by the press which players’ cheers they would like to make in the future, Yang said he would like to make cheers for Ahn Kwon-soo and Koo Seung-min.
Ahn Kwon-soo has a strong feeling of being the cheerleader of the team, so if we can make a really bright and fun cheer, I think it will make Ahn Kwon-soo enjoy the game more and the cheer will sound fun within the team. Koo Seung-min is a player who I personally cheered for a lot. Pitchers often don’t have a cheerleader, but I thought that if they had a cheerleader, they would be more encouraged, so I picked Seung-min Koo.
Recently, the Busan Baseball Reporters met with Lee Min-seok, who is currently rehabilitating at Sangdong Baseball Stadium after his surgery. Despite his worries, Lee Min-seok is approaching his rehabilitation training with a bright and positive attitude. Recently, the Lotte Giants have been playing well with the 2003-born player. Outfielder Yoon Dong-hee has become an integral part of the team and is in the running for Rookie of the Year honors. Pitcher Jin Seung-hyun has become one of the team’s mainstays as he continues to show good command of his pitches and is often mentioned among fans.
Lee Min-seok made the most first-team appearances among his peers last year, but this year, his number ended at “1” due to injury and rehabilitation. When asked if he keeps in touch with his teammates after being away from the first team for a while, Lee Min-seok responded as follows.
I was on the first team, so I know how busy their schedules are, so I keep in touch with them from time to time. When we do talk, I try not to bring up baseball because of my situation, so it’s more of a general conversation. With my teammates, I try to catch up on my days off and spend time with them.
It is well known that rehabilitation training is not easy to endure because it is the same process over and over again. Therefore, a big part of rehabilitation is dealing with the stress of training.먹튀검증
I’m currently in a rehabilitation program, so I’m staying at the Sangdong Baseball Stadium. On training days, I continue to stay there and combine exercise and rest. On my days off, I go home to spend time with my family since my home is in Busan, and I also meet up with my friends whenever I can to relieve stress. I don’t think anything has changed much since we shared a house last year (laughs).
Busan is known as the baseball capital of Korea, and the popularity of baseball is largely due to the hot play of the players and the passionate cheers of the fans. Somewhere out of sight of baseball fans, there are many baseball players who are still sweating to become the protagonists of Gudo. Busan Baseball Archives plans to continue to tell the stories of various baseball players, teams, and organizations in Busan through articles and videos on its YouTube channel ‘Biditori’.