“I didn’t know Guam had a baseball field like this.”
Guam, an American territory in the Northern Mariana Islands located in the western Pacific Ocean, is one of the most popular vacation spots for Koreans. Because there is little time difference in the mild climate, there are many family travelers, such as honeymooners and prenatal trips. As the bar on the border, which had been put on hold for three years due to COVID-19, was lifted, Koreans started looking for it again.
In the midst of tourists, the Lotte Giants chose Guam as their spring camp location. It was a place where Spring Camp, which was leaving after three years, had to be pioneered. In the past, Samsung and KIA used Guam as a spring camp site, but for a while, KBO League clubs stopped visiting.
Currently, Lotte is using the Dededo Sports Complex as its main stadium. Here, the Paseo Ballpark is used only for infield fungo training. However, this was completely different from Lotte’s original idea. Through a preliminary survey, Paseo Baseball Stadium, which currently only holds infield fungo training, was selected as the main stadium for the spring camp. It was a place equipped with a weight training facility and an auxiliary pitch nearby. In advance, field management personnel were dispatched to repair the ground, and the inside and outfield ground was transformed into a Sajik Stadium level. All the high-ranking officials of the club raised their thumbs at the ground condition.
However, a variable occurred. After all preparations were completed, the Guam state government held a large-scale event at Paseo Stadium. The infield was fine, but the outfield ground was messed up. The team’s efforts so far have been in vain. In the end, the club had to decide on a different location, but even though it was ‘Plan B’, the sports complex was chosen as the main stadium.
The condition of the Dede ground is not very good because time was tight for reorganization. But it had the biggest advantage. Like the spring camp training ground in Arizona on the mainland of the United States, there are four baseball fields in the north, south, east and west based on the main tower. could use all of them. In addition, you can conduct conditioning training in bad weather at the indoor training ground right next to it. In the end, it was decided to turn the Dededo Sports Complex into the main stadium and use the infield Paseo Stadium, which was in good condition, as a training ground for Fungo. Dededo and Paseo take about 15 minutes by car.
On the first day of spring camp on the 2nd, the training time itself was delayed due to the scowl sprinkled in the morning, but the coaching staff received favorable reviews for being able to use all four sides of the baseball field. Pyung-ho Kim, a runner-up strategy coach who had a spring camp in Guam as a Samsung coach in the past, said, “I didn’t know Guam had a baseball field like this. I can see my shortcomings, but I think I can take care of it well.” 메이저놀이터
In fact, it was no different from a newly pioneered spring camp by Lotte. Lotte is willing to undergo extensive remodeling to utilize the Dededo Sports Complex from a long-term perspective in the future. That’s how much I felt the charm of the club. Currently, infield training is difficult in Dededo, but if maintenance is carried out in the future, it is judged that efficient training such as batting, defense, running and pitching will be possible on all four sides of the baseball field. In addition, the effect of training can be maximized if the Paseo Stadium is also prepared to take action so that it can be used additionally. Although there remain barriers such as cooperation from the Guam state government and the tourism office, and the preference of the players, Lotte is trying to handle this process as well.
In addition, not only training conditions, but also concerns about key issues at the group and club level are also intertwined. The Lotte club plans to continue its long-term exchanges with its sister club, Nippon Professional Baseball Chiba Lotte Marines. It is an issue that gives strength at the group level.
The plan is to start the second camp on Ishigaki Island, which is about an hour away from the main island of Okinawa, Chiba Lotte’s spring camp site, and have an exchange match before moving to the main island of Okinawa to play a practice game with domestic clubs. This year is the first year of such a plan. Physical and technical training will be held in Guam until the 19th, followed by a practice game in Ishigaki from the 20th to the 27th, and then on the main island of Okinawa until March 7th.
In the end, an efficient movement line had to be considered as well. In the case of the first camp in other places such as Australia and the United States, there are some difficulties in holding the Okinawa camp. The problem of travel and jet lag inevitably follows. It would be perfect to camp all the way in Okinawa, but Guam is the best location to maximize the efficiency of movement in a situation where there is no realistic alternative.
Lotte has not been able to consistently hold spring camps in one place. In the past, campsites were set up in Kagoshima, Japan, Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands, Arizona, USA, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, and Adelaide, Australia, but it did not last long. However, starting from this year, if we pioneer Guam and overcome difficulties, we can build a new campsite unique to Lotte. Will Lotte’s long-term spring camp concept come true as planned?