Updated: Aug 6, 2020
Author: Brett Sapin
Deep in the heart of Seoul, South Korea, a revolution is happening. No, it is not a political or violent revolution, but one sparked by the rise of heroes and aimed at claiming champion status. Unlike the superheroes we know and love that can only be found in the pages of comic books and behind movie theater screens, these superheroes truly exist, and they reside in the fortress known as Gocheok Sky Dome. They are the biggest thing since sliced bread, and are the hottest team in the Korean Peninsula. While in Korea they are known as the heir to the KBO throne, you may know them better as the Kiwoom Heroes, the saviors of Korean baseball. The Kiwoom Heroes have long been a staple in the Korea Baseball Organization, but ever since Kiwoom Securities bought the naming rights to this team, this franchise has begun to reach new heights, finishing among the top 4 in the league in consecutive years for the first time since the team’s inception. But who are these supposed heroes of Seoul? Is the hype real or are the Heroes destined to fail? Only time will tell as the season unfolds.
Not All Heroes Wear Capes is a blog post that will attempt to encapsulate the diehard Kiwoom Heroes spirit that runs through the blood of The Charity Stripe. Each week, we will look at the latest on our Heroes in action, giving grades out for performances, giving weekly awards, and much more. But look, not investing in the Heroes is like not investing in Uber, because there is dynasty potential in this bunch. And if you don’t believe me, let’s take a look at the season so far, and you tell me this team doesn’t scream championship squad…
The Kiwoom Heroes started the year much like their previous seasons: middle of the pack, average defense, average offense. While they would go through decent stretches, they would immediately follow it up with a few Ls in a row. But as the great Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Heroes are made in the hour of defeat,” for after successive losses the team has been on a tear, winning 8 out of their last 10, good for 3rd place in the Korea Baseball Organization, .5 games back of 2nd place, held by the lowly Doosan Bears, and 4 games back of 1st, held by the NC Dinos. With a lot of season left to play, the Heroes seem poised to hit their mid-season stride. But in order to reach the mountain top, the Heroes will need all hand on deck, so without further ado, let’s meet the two players to keep an eye out for during the next few weeks of the season, as the names will either lift the Heroes to glory or perhaps cause their downfall.
Players to Watch
Lee Jung-hoo (RF #51, Bats/Throws:L/R, 6’1, 172 lbs, 21 yrs old, aka: Son of the Wind)
There aren’t enough words to describe how talented this young buck is right here. He is the son of the original “Son of the Wind” Lee Jong-beon, who in his heyday had wheels and a swing like no other in Korea. His son seems to be even better, already scooping up a Rookie of the Year award and a postseason MVP award at the ripe age of 21. My lord. Get him to the States, why not? He’s gotta be better than any player the Orioles have, let’s get real for a second. But with his fast-rising contact ability and speed on the basepaths, Jung-hoo is the young stallion this team needed to boost its rise to supremacy.
Addison Russell (SS #98, Bats/Throws: R/R, 6’0, 200 lbs, 26 yrs old)
No, this isn’t a Walmart-brand Addison Russell debuting for the Kiwoom Heroes. This is the same Addison Russell that made stupid decision after stupid decision and got himself booted from the MLB. But despite what happened in his past, Russell is a special, special add for the Heroes. Even if he wasn’t a largely successful player for the Cubbies, Russell, who is entering his prime, might see greener pastures in the easier KBO competition. Already hitting their stride, the Heroes might finally get over the hump with the addition in Russell.
Matchup to Circle: LG Twins @ Kiwoom Heroes, July 14th-16th
This matchup is primetime KBO, folks. We got the knock-off Twins facing off against the Kings of Korea. These two teams are separated by inches in the standings, with the Heroes leading the Twins by only a half game. If the Heroes can win this series, it would be a massive step to securing favorable seeding for the ‘yoffs, and having the psychological edge over the Twins down the road would be massive. Expect a cycle from Jung-hoo, there’s been something in his water recently.
The stage is set. The team no one wants to see in the KBO is the only team fit enough for our fandom, and that’s why the Heroes will get the job done. Nonsense isn’t tolerated. We are lions who do not concern themselves with the opinions of sheep, and we will finally see the promised land with a KBO title this year. All aboard the Heroes’ hype train and hit ya free throws.