The 'Homerun King of Asia' was robbed of a hit by foul Japanese umpires for the second time this season. In the ninth inning Lee's hit to left field was ruled a fly out, but instant replays showed that it bounced before being caught.
After an appeal failed, Lee's outrage could not be held back:
Returning to the dugout, Lee kicked an advertising board with anger three times and shouted toward the ground.
The 'hit' would have been, by the way, meaningless, as the team had already secured a large lead and won 8-4. But it just wouldn't be Korean for Lee not to freak out (and all the Korean news agencies to run a story on it).
Seung-yeop has ruled the Japan league this year though. Only Fukudome (the player who, incidentally, was key to Japan's victory over Korea in the World Baseball Classic) has the stats to match him. It will be very interesting to see how the MVP award goes. Fukodome leads the league in batting average (354) with Seung Yeop no slouch at 323. Seung Yeop leads in homeruns and Fukodome leads in production. Very close call, though Fukodome's team is leading their division and sometimes that can be a deciding factor. Perhaps this is why Lee was so upset over one otherwise meaningless hit.
Anyway, I'm sure it was good fodder for the Japanese media to support their favorite Korean stereotypes. They don't like foreigners coming in and doing too well in their league, and that probably goes double for Koreans. Some say that the Japanese media and public in general are more mature about these kinds of things than their counterparts in Korea. Perhaps, to some extent, but I suspect they're mostly just better at hiding it.
What would be most interesting is to see Lee clearly have the stats to take MVP and see what the Japan league does about it. The Japanese can be no less racist when it comes to these things as Korea, who notoriously denied dirty foreigner Cliff Brumbaugh the MVP and even a starting spot on its All Star roster, despite clearly dominating the Korean league a few years back.
Fukodome will probably take the honor one way or another. It will be fun to watch the fireworks when this 'scandal' takes place.
As for Seung-yeop, it's seems a lock that he'll be in the Majors next year. A good showing in the Baseball Classic and a very strong season in Japan have sealed it.
Time for some Fearless Predictions.
Seung yeop does not get as good a deal as he (read: the Korean media) thinks he should get from the MLB clubs. They'll compare it with what some other Japanese stars like Ichiro got in the past and if its a penny less, they'll bitch.
Seung Yeop will come very close not to signing with the MLB, citing the above 'insult'. What's really behind the hesitation, however, is a fundamental fear of failure at the highest level of the game. Seung Yeop has the goods physically, but mentally he can be inconsistent, as evidenced by his failure in the first year of Japanese baseball ( and this after complaining that he should have been given a starting position in the Majors).
He'll eventually take the offer though. It's just too blatantly chickenshit to stay in Japan.
He'll start the season off somewhat well, and the Korean media will be all over it, predicting all sorts of exaggerated achievements like they always do. Great blogging material will abound. Kevin from Incestuous Amplification fame will come out of retirement as the bullshit will just be too stinky to ignore.
Seung-yeop will then go into a slump and be taken off the starting lineup. The first year will basically be written off as a 'learning period', just like his first year in Japan. The Korean sports media will somehow manage once again to learn nothing from the whole experience, despite being burned in this way time and time again.
In the second year, Seung-yeop will go to another team and have a chance to start again. He'll do ok, with occasional flashes of greatness. He'll earn a spot in the line up around 5 or 6 and finish out his career as a decent player, probably the best Korean hitter in the Bigs overall for the time being. In short, he won't be great, but he'll do well enough eventually and despite the Korean sports media desperation for their own Ichiro, it will be a very respectable achievement.
As it is written, so shall it come to pass.
Comments from original blog post
I hate baseball with a passion. I wish there were something I could do to get you to stop talking about it. I think I'll sue you.
Posted by: Joel | August 10, 2006 at 04:47 PM
hehe, on what grounds?
Posted by: littlebrownasian | August 10, 2006 at 05:58 PM
"I wish there were something I could do to get you to stop talking about it."
Try putting on a suit and knocking on the pooper's door with a goofy smile on your face and a bible in hand. Those Latter Day Saints are so damned convincing, they could sell me my own balls.
Posted by: iheartblueballs | August 10, 2006 at 09:06 PM
Hmmm...I think I'd prefer to be sued.
Posted by: partypooper | August 10, 2006 at 09:23 PM
"Those Latter Day Saints are so damned convincing, they could sell me my own balls."
Aaah, those LDSes......anyone watch Orgazmo? =D
Posted by: littlebrownasian | August 10, 2006 at 10:08 PM