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KBO players' association denies asking players to honor unwritten rules

All Headlines 16:45 April 04, 2014

SEOUL, April 4 (Yonhap) -- The interest group for South Korean professional baseball players on Friday denied an accusation that it'd asked its members to honor unwritten codes in the sport.

In a statement, the Korea Professional Baseball Players Association (KPBPA) rejected an earlier report that claimed the association told its members not to steal bases when their team was up by at least six runs in sixth inning or later.

"We're always striving to ensure our players put on entertaining and fair games for the fans," the KPBPA said. "We have never reached such a ludicrous decision as preventing players from stealing with a six-run lead in the sixth, nor could we ever do so."

The controversy surfaced on Thursday, when Kim Euong-yong, manager of the Hanwha Eagles in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), told reporters that his players refused to steal bases late in their 10-5 win over the Samsung Lions the previous night because of an agreement with the KPBPA not to offend opposing teams.

The Eagles led 9-3 after seven innings before giving up two in the top eighth and scoring one run themselves in the bottom eighth for the final score.

Baseball has had its so-called codes for decades, one of which is that players shouldn't try to pad their stolen bases totals and put themselves in scoring position when the game was already in their team's hands. Stealing attempts in late innings of blowouts have led to beanballs and bench-clearing brawls in the majors and in the KBO.

In an age of high-octane offense, however, a six-run lead in the sixth inning isn't quite the sure thing that it once might have been, in particular for teams with subpar relief pitching.

The KPBPA, which is not a union, faced backlash for apparently trying to put such unwritten rules into specific words.

In its denial, the KPBPA did say its members have agreed not to offend other clubs with over-the-top celebration for home runs, among others.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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