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Baseball club fined over sign stealing

All Headlines 16:58 April 20, 2018

SEOUL, April 20 (Yonhap) -- A club in the nation's top baseball league was fined on Friday over its attempt to steal signs.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) slapped the LG Twins with a fine of 20 million won (US$18,720), citing a league rule that prevents relaying of information on pitches from outside the dugout during games. It's the largest fine imposed on a KBO club in the league's 36-year history.

Separately, the Twins' manager Ryu Joong-il was fined 10 million won, a record amount for a KBO manager, for his lack of oversight. The club's first base and third base coaches, Han Hyeok-su and Ryu Ji-hyun, were each fined 1 million won.

Members of the Korea Baseball Organization's disciplinary committee discuss the sign stealing attempt by the LG Twins during a meeting at the KBO headquarters in Seoul on April 20, 2018. (Yonhap)

The Twins stirred controversy after Wednesday's road game against the Kia Tigers at Gwangju-Kia Champions Field in Gwangju, 330 kilometers south of Seoul, when a sheet of paper on the wall near the clubhouse detailing Kia's catcher signs for different pitches was photographed by a local news outlet.

For instance, the paper said that, if the catcher touched his left thigh with his index finger, it meant a pitch on the inside to right-handed batters. Flashing both the index and middle fingers meant a curveball was coming. Showing the index, middle and little fingers together was a sign for a slider.

When the photo began circulating online, the Twins admitted that they'd prepared the paper to help runners steal bases.

Trying to figure out opposing teams' signs is hardly new in baseball, but the Twins were penalized for sharing their information in a physical form that later made the news.

The Twins have apologized for their action and vowed to prevent recurrence.

They also explained to the KBO's disciplinary committee on Friday that the disputed sheet of paper wasn't there to give their hitters an edge and said their scouting team had acted on its own to post it on the wall. But the league decided that the incident, regardless of the Twins' intent, caused damage to the KBO's credibility.

In this file photo from April 15, 2018, members of the LG Twins react to their 11-8 victory over the KT Wiz in a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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