Updated March. 28, 2014 02:38
A good beginning is half done. This well-known proverb emphasizes the importance of beginning. This probably applies to the Korean Baseball League as well. In baseball, winning the first game for a season means more than just one victory because it can build up confidence in players. That`s why many coaches take winning the opening game seriously.
According to an analysis, winning the opener delivers substantial significance as well. Over the last 32 years, the team who had won its opening game for the season won the championship in the end, 22 times. In other words, one of the teams that won the opening games became a champion, about seven out of 10 times.
In addition, since 1991, the first year that the league consists of eight clubs, the average ranking of the teams that won the opening games is 4.04. Except for the 2006 season, at least two teams out of the four teams who won the opening games advanced into the pennant race. This means that if you win the opening game, you are more likely to be in the pennant race. In particular, in 1992 when Lotte Giants won the championship for the last time, all of the top four teams Giants, Eagles, Tigers and Lions (in the order of ranking) were the ones that won the opening games for the season. In 2003, the Hyundai Unicorns captured the championship trophy, followed by Wyverns, Tigers and Lions. All of these teams also won the opening games for the season.
Of course, this rule does not always work. A team that won the opening game ended up finishing last 11 times. Especially in 2006, Bears, Wyverns and Giants won the opening games but finished fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively. Only Eagles, one of the four winners of the openers, managed to come in second. Last year, Lions lost to Bears at 4 to 9 at the opener after allowing two grand slammers, but they beat Bears at the play-offs and succeeded in winning three consecutive championships.