Cliff Brumbaugh was by far the most dominant batter in the Korean league this year. He led the league in batting average and slugging percentage. Was number two in homeruns (one less than the leader), and third in total number of hits. For those who do not follow baseball, nearly leading in all major batting categories is somewhat of a rarity.
So naturally he was a candidate for the all-star team and MVP.
"he was excluded from the starting lineup in the all-star fan voting in June. Despite leading the league in most batting categories Brumbaugh placed 10th out of the 11 outfielder candidates and only joined the West squad just by managers’ recommendation."
It's sure nice to see that Korean fans were fair enough to vote him ahead of at least one player (I wonder if the 11th candidate was another foreigner...). Yes, very kind indeed.
Well, what about the Korean sports journalists? Certainly they would be objective enough to recognize Brumbaughs dominance, right? These are professionals, right?
In the MVP vote, Brumbaugh got 13 votes to pitcher Bae Young-soo's 84.
Not even close.
Bae Young-soo did have a good year, but was not really a standout. He tied for the lead in wins, but that is certainly easier to do that when backed up by a team capable of scoring a lot of runs. Bae Young-soo tied in number of wins with two other 'imports' (read: dirty stinkin mercenary foreigners) Gary Rath and Daniel Rios (guess how many votes they got for MVP...)
Pitcher Park Myong Hwan led in perhaps the two most important categories: ERA and strikeouts which much more clearly show an individual pitcher's ability. So basically Young-soo didn't clearly lead in any category, and was behind others in the ones that counted the most. Bae Young-soo was good, but I wouldn't even pick him for the best pitcher this year, let alone MVP.
"I first want to thank my parents for not being foreigners. I wouldn't be here tonight if it weren't for them. Seriously. I will do my best to be even more Korean in the future."
The article, written by Kim Hyeon-Cheol, states the obvious:
"Thus, taking all this into account, there seems to be only one answer to the exceptional gap of votes between Bae and Brumbaugh _ he’s not a Korean. Take out the name Brumbaugh and replace it with Shim with the same record and under the same circumstances. Do you think anyone would have denied him the MVP?"
Well put. I suppose what surprised me most about this story was not that Korean fans and sports journalists are generally racist, but that a Korean journalist would have the balls to call them out on it.
I've looked around and haven't found any other sotires covering this blatant discrimination. Korea desperately needs more people like Kim Hyeon-Cheol.