BUSAN – Gyeongnam’s baseball supremacy is about to change again.
The Lotte Giants are dominating the Nakdong River Derby against the NC Dinos with a 5-1 record.
Lotte got off to a successful midweek start by wrapping up a three-game series against NC at Busan’s Sajik Stadium on April 23-25 with a 2-1 winning series, and quickly bounced back from a 3-game, 1-2 losing series against the SSG Landers to get back on track.
Lotte also swept NC at NC Park in Changwon last month on April 21-23 to complete a four-game winning streak, riding the momentum and extending Pajuk’s nine-game winning streak. This year, the team has continued its strong form against the NCs, using them as a sacrificial lamb to bounce back.
In fact, NC is the team with the highest opponent winning percentage among the teams Lotte has played more than three games against this year. While they have won both games against Kiwoom, they are also 5-1 against NC, showing absolute dominance. Having a strong showing against certain teams, including a 4-1 record against the Hanwha Eagles, is essential for high performance.
It goes without saying that a high winning percentage against your opponents will also improve your overall season record. And this year, Lotte is doing just that, with a winning percentage of over 5% against seven teams, with the exception of SSG (1-3) and Samsung (1-2).
To put it bluntly, for Lotte, the NC has been an upset cousin. A baseball official explained the relationship between Lotte and NC by saying, “It’s like when a cousin buys a piece of land and gets a stomach ache.” After explaining the relationship between Lotte and NC, he said, “Lotte, the original baseball team, hasn’t won a championship since 1992, and NC, the ninth team to join the league, won the championship in 2020, so Lotte fans’ stomachs must have been upset.”
In fact, after NC’s initial adjustment period, the team won back-to-back third-place finishes in 2014 and 2015, and second-place in 2016, Lotte’s comparisons to the two teams increased. Even in 2017, when Lotte finished third and NC fourth, many Giants fans who had held their breath cheered.
The distances between Busan and Changwon, where Lotte and NC are based, are within an hour’s drive of each other. The rivalry is also notable for the fact that the two clubs actually share a baseball fan base.
NC has been particularly formidable against Lotte. With the exception of 2015, when Lotte struggled mightily against NC (5-11), the series has been close to even every year.안전놀이터
However, Lotte has been on the losing end more recently. In the 2019 Nakdong River Derby, Lotte lost 5-11, once again reviving the 2015 nightmare. In 2020, Lotte also had to watch NC win its first-ever overall title as they were outscored 6-10 by their rivals. The last two years have been evenly matched again. With 7 wins, 2 draws, and 7 losses in 2021 and 8 wins and 8 losses in 2022, neither team backed down.
Despite the closeness of the last two years, it is true that the baseball hegemony of Busan-Gyeongnam has shifted to Changwon since the creation of the NC. In terms of tradition, name recognition, popularity, and history, Lotte overwhelmed its regional rival, but for a short period of time, NC has been more prominent in baseball.
And this year, there are signs of that hegemony shifting back to Busan. Lotte’s 5-1 record in the Nakdong River Derby against NC is even more symbolic. If Lotte can continue their good form this season and do even better against NC, it could bring the baseball public and fan sentiment back into the fold. This is why the Nakdong River Derby should be watched closely this season.