A post-medication visit? A tail cut? KBO’s incomprehensible suspension of umpire Woo Hyo-dong for the remainder of the season?
The Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) has suspended umpire Woo Hyo-dong for the remainder of the game for the first base call in the LG-SSG game on April 21. It’s been pointed out that it’s incomprehensible that umpire Woo Hyo-dong, who openly admitted that the initial foul call was wrong, was disciplined. Rather, it was the umpire’s decision to call Han Yoo-seom out due to the umpire’s agreement with the fourth umpire and the subsequent runner confrontation that caused the controversy.
“The Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) has suspended umpire Woo Hyo-dong for the remainder of the season for causing chaos by not operating smoothly during the game between the LG Twins and SSG Landers at SSG Landers Field in Incheon on Nov. 21,” the KBO announced on Nov. 22.
The incident that the KBO is referring to occurred in the eighth inning of the game between LG and SSG on Nov. 21. In the eighth inning, with LG leading 2-0, SSG had a chance to load the bases with a single by Heredia, a double by Choi Jeong, and a walk by Han Yu-seom.
Park Sung-seong came to the plate and hit a line drive down the first base line that hit first base umpire Woo Hyo-dong in the stomach. Umpire Woo called the play dead and then gathered with the second and third base umpires to discuss the call. The consensus was that the pitch was fair because it hit the glove of first baseman Kim Min-sung and then hit Umpire Woo. It was also ruled an in-play situation. Heredia, the third baseman, was allowed to score, but Han, the first baseman, was called out.
The KBO’s official stance on the controversial play was, “The ball was ruled in play after it passed through the first baseman’s glove. Heredia, who has already crossed home plate, is allowed to score and Han Yoo-seom, the runner at first base, is out. With runners on second and third, the umpire decides to resume play.” The umpires recognized that even though the ball hit the umpire and play was stopped, Han would not have gotten to second base if the umpire had called a fair. It was a foresighted decision by the umpires.
There was a lot of debate among the media on the field, but the consensus was that Han Yoo-seom was out because he did not step on second base in the in-play situation. However, the cameras of the fans on the field and the photographers captured the scene of Han Yoo-seom stepping on second base. Immediately after being hit by the umpire, Han ran to second base and stole second base. Even if it was an in-play situation, Han fulfilled his responsibility as a runner by taking second base.
When Han Yu-seom was called out, manager Kim Won-hyung protested harshly, even though a protest against the video review would have resulted in an ejection. He protested for more than 10 minutes. If the umpires were confident in their decision, they would have sent Kim Won-hyung home as soon as he started protesting, but they spent more than 10 minutes explaining their decision. It can only be interpreted that they were not confident in their judgment either. After more than 10 minutes of protest, they ejected Kim Won-hyung.
In the end, SSG was only able to score one run with the bases loaded and lost the game 1-2. After SSG Landers owner Jung Yong-jin complained about the situation on his personal social media accounts and a series of articles appeared, the KBO took disciplinary action against umpire Woo.캡틴토토
However, Woo admitted that the initial call was wrong. The controversy grew after a four-judge panel agreed on the call, but the KBO only suspended Woo for the remainder of the game. It seems like a sting in the tail, and it also reminds me of the Chinese term for a post-mortem visit.
This punishment for Woo may be a message to other umpires who will be officiating in the remaining games: “Don’t change your initial call, even if it’s problematic, and stick to your initial call. Referees are human and can make mistakes, and fans applaud their willingness to admit it, but the KBO seems to be trying to put an end to the controversy by disciplining Woo, who started it.