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{Coup de coeur]“Hot Stove Leage”: the passion for baseball

Long present in my list of dramas to see, Hot Stove League quickly joined my favorites!

This summer, I share with you one of my favorites: the drama Hot Stove League which literally transported me to the world of one of the most popular sports in South Korea… Baseball!

  • Titre Original : Hot Stove League / Stove League
  • Directed by: Hong Jong Chan, Jang Yang Ho and Kim Hye Sook
  • Broadcast: December 13, 2019 to February 14, 2020 on SBS
  • Number of episodes: 16 episodes
  • Available on Netflix and Viki

Broadcast in 2020, the drama received numerous awards including that of best series during the 56th Baeksang Arts Awards ceremony. The main actor Namgoong Min also won the grand prize (Daesang) at the 28th SBS Awards ceremony and you will quickly understand why!

The Strength of the ‘Hot Stove League’ Synopsis: Baseball’s Offseason

Baek Seung Soo (played by Namgoong Min) has just been appointed as the new general manager of the “Dreams” baseball club. The club is doing badly, it has just finished the season in the last position of the classification and the general atmosphere between the players and the staff is catastrophic.

Young Lee Se Young (played by Park Eun Bin) is the first female director of operations of a major baseball club, she is determined and works with passion and dedication within “Dreams”, a club very dear to her heart.

She will therefore have to adapt to the cold and atypical personality of the new general manager. Together they will fight to make better choices for the club and hope for a better future.

She is supported by her faithful assistant Han Jae Hee (played by Joe Byeong Gyu), a highly motivated assistant, to the point of working overtime on his days off.

But that’s without counting on club president Kwon Kyung Min (played by the excellent oh boy se) who takes pleasure in putting a spoke in the wheels of the new director of the club. They never really agree and don’t always have the same goals…

The Stove League means and corresponds to the baseball offseason. It is therefore a special period for a club – an in-between – where a season ends with its balance sheets and a new one must be organised.

The drama is therefore not centered on matches and competitions, there are ultimately very few sports scenes, but it takes us behind the scenes of team management. Our three heroes must work with coaches, players, staff and the federation to guarantee the success of the “Dreams” for next season!

Between business strategies, political shenanigans, corruption and doping, their work is not easy!

Trailers « Hot Stove League » :

The finesse of the characters and the richness of the points of view in “Hot Stove League”:

My favorite for this drama is mainly based on the finesse of the characters and their dualities. The heroes all have a certain ambivalence, a dynamic and joyful side as well as a darker side.

Baek Seung Soo, the hero, is a real poker face, a character who does not show his emotions, and who very often disarms his interlocutors. The actor Namgoong Min (seen in Chief Kim, Beautiful Gong Shim, Doctor Prisoner) literally blew me away in this drama with her smooth playing that captivates us! He has also become one of my favorite actors.

Lee Se Young is a strong and determined woman. She’s the first female COO of a major baseball club, and though she’s often confronted with the machismo of her peers, she never lets up. Workaholic and committed employee, she and Baek Seung Soo form an unlikely and powerful duo that works very well on screen.

Park Eun Bin who plays Lee Se Young delivers here a beautiful performance as an actress very just in tone and emotions (seen in The King’s affection, Age of Youth, Extraordinary Attorney Woo). It’s a reunion for the two actors because they have already worked together on the historical drama How Jun, The Original Story.

Another strong point of the drama, in my opinion, is the richness of the points of view. In all the situations that oppose two characters, the script makes sure to change perspective. Each incident thus allows viewers to develop empathy and understanding for each of the characters.

Another very developed aspect in this drama is the second chance. Through the life stories of the characters, we understand how much and why a second chance is so important when given to people you trust.

All the actors whose Joe Byeong Gyu (seen in Sky CastleDemon Catchers) et oh boy se (seen in It’s Okay not to be OkayUncle) all deliver a very good performance for this drama which makes it all the more endearing and exciting.

We note in particular the special appearance of actor Lee Jae Hoon (Taxi driver, Moove to Heaven) in later episodes.

« Hot Stove League » deciphers the world of baseball in South Korea

This drama allows a real introspection in a world that is not very exploited in the dramasphere: baseball! Far from the usual romances, he brilliantly describes the strategic, commercial and even sentimental issues that baseball in South Korea can represent.

Baseball is one of the three most followed sports in the country. Many Korean actors are fans of it, such as Nam Joo Hyuk, Gong YooLee Dong Wook and Jo In Sung.

The Korean Baseball League (KBL) is one of the best in the world and the national team is one of the most successful. Several Korean professional players also play in Major League Baseball.

For added realism, the series was hosted by Korean Baseball League club SK Wyverns and Munhak Baseball Stadium.

All aspects of the daily life of a club are described in the drama: the recruitment of players, negotiations, unions, communication and marketing around the club as well as coaching, physical preparation, scandals… Far from To be off-putting, the subjects are all presented to the viewers in a detailed and educational way in order to allow a good understanding. It is easy to watch and the viewer is very quickly absorbed by the daily life of “Dreams”.

Conclusion

You will have understood it, this drama, discovery of the summer, is a real crush… It allowed me to escape into the universe of the Korean baseball league and to always know a little more on the culture of my country of heart!

So, ready to put on your cleats?

hot stove league cast

Sources : He Cinema | Asian Viki | Soompi

Sources Image : He Cinema

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