Posted in kdrama

Hot Stove League (2020)

Profile
Drama: Hot Stove League (스토브리그)
Network: SBS
Episodes: 16
Release Date: December 13, 2019 – February 14, 2020
Runtime: Friday & Saturday 22:00

Plot
A fledging baseball team hires a team manager who is not afraid to shake things up to make some changes. Will he be able to convince the team to succeed or will the team end up being disbanded?

Main Cast
Namgoong Min – Baek Seung Soo
Park Eun Bin – Lee Se Young
Oh Jung Se – Kwon Kyung Min
Jo Byeong Gyu – Han Jae Hee
Lee Joon Hyuk – Go Se Hyeok
Hong Ki Joon – Jang Jin Woo
Jo Han Sun – Lim Dong Gyu
Ha Do Kwon – Kang Doo Ki

Review
I think almost everything that Namgoong Min touches turns to gold. And I’m so happy he finally won a Daesang for his fantastic performance as Baek Seung Soo. Actually, the entire cast was amazing!!

I started watching on a Sunday, kept hitting “next episode” until i realized i was almost done with the show!

How much I loved this drama? Let me count the ways. First, as I said above, amazing performance not just of Namgoong Min but from everyone – the management, the head office, and the players. Each episode focused one 1 to 2 persons’ stories and how Baek was able to help and resolve the problem.

I only have basic knowledge of baseball so didn’t really understand the stats, but it didn’t really matter because the whole point is more on how a manager was able to successful transform a low performing team to a champion. It’s not just how he worked, but how he influenced the people around him to become better versions of themselves.

You can pick up some tips on how to manage difficult people and how to deal with difficult negotiations, Baek Seung Soo is so good at it, i wonder why he is not a hot commodity. I guess they are uneasy with his unorthodox thinking.

I especially loved the episodes about Gil Chang Ju. You can really feel that he loved his wife so much that he had to do what he can for her, and he felt terrible for letting down the people. I would have advised him to do the same thing – play for one season and go to the army like everyone else and come back better and stronger.

I also loved the story about Baek’s brother and cried for Seung Soo. The burden Seung Soo was have felt – feeling guilty for his brother injury, feeling devastated for his wife’s miscarriage, and taking care of his parents. He never shared his pain with others and he stopped smiling. I really hoped that he would finally find a team that would actually want him and stay, but I guess he really is a drifter, off to go where no man wants to go and just kicking ass.

I also loved Lim Dong gyu’s redemption. Episodes 1-2 made him look like such a jerk but underneath it all, he also had his dreams. I think he learned his lesson when Seung Soo kicked him out of the team. But it also felt right when he came back because he is always a Dreams player.

The only episode I didn’t like was episode 15, i thought it was too much, like they had one more episode to fill but they dont know what else to do so they just made the WTF decision to trade Kang Duki and make the manager look like a tool. I also didn’t like Kwong Min, even though he was getting hit and humiliated by his cousin and his uncle, I didn’t feel sorry for him. And him suddenly changing his mind and agreeing to sell the team wasn’t too convincing.

Episode 16 was too simple for a finale. I wish we saw more efforts from Seungsoo to look for a buyer all throughout the show. The ending was easily resolved with just 1 company agreeing to buy the team after just 2 meetings. To think Director spent years looking for a buyer to no avail.

One thing I wanted to say, If the plan was to disband the team from the very start, it didn’t really make sense to bring a new GM and approve of all his changes. It then feels like all his (and everyone’s) efforts will just be a waste of time and the best players will all end up team-less (which is awful!). I wish the objective was very clear from episode 1 – if he can’t fix the team before the season then they will disband. Baek did so many changes that there’s actually a big chance to win the next season, and yet the company still went ahead and killed the team. Other than that, everything else was terrific. I wished there an epilogue or a special episode where we actually see them play during the season. I would have wanted to cheer for them even if it’s just imaginary. LOL.

Rating: 9/10

Author:

daydreamer, bookworm, music lover, movie addict. in my alternate universe, i am an a-list popstar and a best selling novelist.

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