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S. Korean baseball umpires to be demoted to minor league over inconsistent performance

All News 16:46 May 08, 2020

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, May 8 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean baseball league on Friday decided to demote an entire crew of five umpires to the minors, in a swift response to a player's open criticism of their performances.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) said five umpires who worked a game between the SK Wyverns and the Hanwha Eagles on Thursday will be sent down to the Futures League for "retraining."

The Eagles won the game 8-4. And toward the end of his post-game TV interview, Hanwha outfielder Lee Yong-kyu asked for an extra moment to speak on behalf of other players.

In this file photo from April, 21, 2020, umpires connect with the video replay center at the Korea Baseball Organization head office in Seoul during a preseason game between the Lotte Giants and the NC Dinos at Changwon NC Park in Changwon, 400 kilometers southeast of the capital. (Yonhap)

"Even though it's only been three games this season, a lot of players are really unhappy with the lack of consistency on ball-strike calls," Lee said. "I'd like to ask all the umpires to please be more considerate of the players. We're all very confused (with the inconsistent zone). I know the umpires are doing their best out there, but I just hope they should start seeing things from the players' perspective, too."

The crew that called the game had Lee Ki-joong as home plate umpire and crew chief, Jang Jun-young at first, Won Hyun-sik at second, Choi Su-won at third and Kim Jun-hee as an alternate.

They have already been assigned to different games for Friday. They will move down to the Futures League on Saturday.

The KBO also asked players to refrain from publicly criticizing umpires and to show more respect toward officials.


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