Three-peat controversy, then another… In an age of distrust for referees, conflict erupts

Faith and trust among league members is an essential component of a successful and stable league. However, the distrust of the KBO’s umpires has not gone away.

The game between Kiwoom and Lotte at Sajik Stadium in Busan on the 23rd was a clear example of the players’ distrust of the umpires.

The two teams were battling for the Winning Series, and after a hard-fought game that included a rain delay in the 86th minute, Kiwoom won 7-6 to secure the Winning Series. However, there were a number of sensitive, strange, and unfortunate situations involving officiating during the game. The 6 hours and 10 minutes of play included a rain delay, but it also included time for volleys of voices and rants against the referees.

Another Three-Peat Violation, Revised Rules in Effect

First, there was a situation involving the three-foot line, which was the biggest topic at the end of the first half. In the top of the third inning, Kiwoom’s leadoff hitter Lee Ji-young singled to right, and Lee Yong-gyu laid down a sacrifice bunt toward first base with the intention of a surprise bunt.

It was an exquisite throw to the first base line, and Lotte first baseman Han Dong-hee caught it and threw it to first base. The throw to first base hit Lee Yong-kyu in the left shoulder. Second baseman Ahn Chi-hong, who was covering the base, was able to catch it. The ball deflected off Lee Yong-gyu and went to second base, and both runners advanced one more base.

At this point, the umpires gathered. They questioned whether there was a three-peat violation, and a three-peat defensive interference call was made. Coach Hong Won-ki came out and asked for a video review.

Lee Yong-kyu ran back to the foul area to avoid an early three-footer, and when he needed to run the bases, he stepped on the line. He ran the bases with his left foot. The pitch hit Lee Yong-gyu’s body, but Han Dong-hee’s pitch and the position of the pitch were not in line with Lee Yong-gyu. It was hard to see that the third base line was violated, and the call for defensive interference was overturned. The runners remained on second and third base. Lotte didn’t protest the call. Kiwoom then took a 3-0 lead on Kim Hye-sung’s sacrifice fly to center field and Ronnie Dawson’s first home run in the KBO (two runs).

Three-peat controversy sparked by result-oriented explanation

The KBO has seen numerous three-peat controversies in the first half of the season, and each time, the umpire committee’s explanations have stirred up controversy.

In the seventh inning of the Gocheok Doosan-Keum game on June 23, when Lim Ji-yeol hit a grounder to third base, Doosan catcher Yang Yang-ji’s throw to first base hit Lim’s body and was ruled a three-pitch violation. Manager Hong Won-ki firmly believes that Lim did not violate the three-peat. “It’s unfair from our point of view. From a young age, managers and coaches don’t tell players to commit fouls. We always tell them to play fairly, and the player made a normal play. However, the umpires decided that he was fouling,” he said, adding, “I think the process of running the bases is important, but the pitching process and the angle of the pitch should be judged comprehensively.”

KIA was also victimized by a different call in the same situation. In the top of the fifth inning of the NC-KIA game in Gwangju on June 16, Shin Beom-soo bunted with runners on first and second with no outs, but NC pitcher Ryu Jin-wook threw the ball to first base but it was out of bounds. The ball was not in line with the runner, but it hit Shin Bum-soo’s foot and became a bad pitch. NC requested a video review, and it was determined that Shin Beom-soo ran inside foul territory and violated the three-foot line. Shin Bum-soo was called out, and coach Kim Jong-guk was ejected for protesting the video review.

Then, on the 13th, in the Gwangju Samsung-KIA game, a different call was made in the same situation. KIA was victimized again. In the bottom of the third inning, Pirela’s pitch was hit just inside the first base line, and pitcher Yang Hyun-jong made a throw to avoid Pirela, but it was called out. Manager Kim Jong-kook called for a video review, but unlike in the last NC, Pirela was not out. The umpire took the microphone and gave his reasoning, saying, “Pirela ran inside, but the pitcher threw the ball out of play from the beginning.” This explanation sparked more controversy and led to a rule refinement for the second half of the season.

Previously, Baseball Rules 5.09 and 6.01 stated, “If the umpire determines that a runner interferes with a fielder in charge of a throw to first base by stepping outside the three-foot line inside or outside the foul line while running the second half of the distance between home plate and first base, the runner shall be declared out and the other runners shall return to the bases they occupied at the time of the interference.” Under the strict application of baseball rules, runners were not automatically declared out for running inside the foul line if they did not interfere with the first base defense, nor were they ruled out for interfering with the defense if the umpire judged the throw to be a bad throw.

However, in the revised rule application, a defensive interference call will be made if the umpire determines that the runner’s run “caused” the interference. To ensure consistency in rulings and prevent confusion on the field, a runner’s run inside the 3-foot line will also be declared as obstruction if the umpire determines that the runner’s run was clearly a “cause of obstruction” of the defense (throw or catch).

Pent-up frustration erupts as Kiwoom and Lotte lash out at inconsistent officiating

The three-peat situation was reviewed on video and passed without incident. But it was the strike zone calls where the basic distrust remained. Both teams exploded. A rare situation arose where two players were ejected, one from each team, for calling a strike ball.

In the top of the fifth inning, Sutton made an unusual pitching change to Han Hyun-hee after Shim Jae-min gave up a straight ball to Ronnie Dawson. After accepting the ball from umpire Kim and handing it to the new pitcher, Sutton approached umpire Kim. There was a bit of an argument about a strike zone call. Earlier in the inning, there had been an unfair call to load the bases. Sutton’s voice got louder and his gestures got bigger. Umpire Kim ordered him to leave. Sutton became even more agitated, and the entire umpiring crew rushed over to calm him down.

It didn’t stop there. In the top of the sixth inning, with the score tied at 4-4, Kim became agitated with the umpire’s call. The game had been suspended for 86 minutes due to heavy rain. In a two-ball, one-strike at-bat, Lee check-swung at a forked ball from Koo Seung-min on the fourth pitch. Yong-kyu thought he had stopped, and it appeared so. However, umpire Kim Seo-soo ruled Yong-kyu’s check swing a miss. It was an ambiguous swing, but umpire Kim made an arbitrary call. Lee Yong-kyu was surprised and looked at the umpire, which led to a heated reaction. Head coach Hong Won-ki and assistant coach Kim Chang-hyun both came out to tear him apart. The situation seemed to be under control.

However, Yong-kyu retreated to the dugout after hitting a grounder to center field and made another appeal to umpire Kim. He gestured that he should ask the third base umpire, and umpire Kim eventually ejected Yong-kyu. After the ejection, Yong-kyu became agitated again and lunged at the umpire, who managed to pull him away, but the situation did not calm down.바카라사이트

‘Age of distrust’ hinders the league’s popularity, but only deepens the rift

The basic distrust of the umpires exploded in this game. One situation leads to another. It is no exaggeration to say that the referees dominated the game and muddied the waters. The controversy over the three-foot line interference call had already received a lot of attention from KBO President Heo Koo-yeon, who reportedly ordered the league to issue a revised application later in the game.

Nevertheless, the distrust among league members is growing deeper by the day. The issue of strike zone judgment is a long-standing conflict. The league says it’s changing, but players are fed up with the inconsistent calls. But they can’t say it out loud. There have been situations where players have gotten into trouble when they shouldn’t have and used the referee’s authority to take advantage of them. As a result, the sparks of conflict with the officials have been flying since the start of the second half. The embers of conflict are always alive. It doesn’t help the league’s box office at all.

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