“DTD” is a phrase that every Korean baseball fan knows. It stands for “Down Team is Down,” and is believed to have been first used by Hyundai manager Kim Jae-bak in the mid-2000s. It’s an unwritten phrase, but its meaning is clear, and it’s 메이저놀이터 still a favorite among fans. On the other side of the spectrum is the phrase “a player who will come up will come up. Lee Jung-hoo (25, Kiwoom) is a prime example.
After winning five batting titles last year (batting average, most hits, RBIs, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage), Lee went into a severe slump at the beginning of the season after changing his batting form. He batted just .218 (19-for-87) in April. On April 22, he went 0-for-4 against SSG, dropping his season average to 0.194. However, he rebounded in May, going 4-for-4 against KT on June 11 to move his season average into the triple digits. As of June 12, he is batting .304 (70-for-230). Since June 10, he is batting .500 (19-for-38).
“I don’t know why, but I thought it would be good, so I tried sprinkling salt on my body in the sauna and tapping my bat with a massage gun,” Lee told reporters after the game on June 11. He also said, “My mother (a Catholic) brought me holy water from the church, and I sprinkled it on the batting cage in the Gocheok Sky Dome.” Lee cut his hair short to prepare for the planting and often practiced specialty batting. He said, “I did it until mid-May (when my hitting improved). After that, I didn’t think my stamina would drop,” he said.
His family also helped. “My mother prayed for me every day at dawn. All her patterns are geared toward me,” he said. His father, LG coach Lee Jong-beom, also advised him, “Don’t rush, just follow the process and you’ll find your form.”
Lee Jung-hoo said, “I need to play more, not just 3%. My goal is to do better than last year. It’s a little late this year, but I want to keep my current feeling until the second half of the season and achieve good results.” Lee topped the first round of fan voting for the 2023 Baseball All-Star Game with 502,241 votes in the first round of voting announced on Wednesday. Lee, a nominee for the Nanum All-Star Outfielder Award, received more than half of the 965,475 total votes cast.