The opening of the professional baseball league was postponed for the first time due to COVID-19, and finally, last May, the season’s opening came without a hitch, although the game was played without spectators at first. There was one more thing that became an issue. It has long been controversial in Korea: the referee’s misjudgment.
As with all other sports, baseball is a sport in which referee’s judgement is important. This is because hitters’ and pitchers’ joy and sorrow depend on whether the ball is judged as a ball or strike. Lee Yong-kyu, the Captain of Hanhwa Eagles, said about the strike zone and it made the issue more public. In the MVP interview, he added his words, claiming most players have a lot of complaints about the consistency of ball decisions. He bravely talked about the problem that baseball fans have always criticized, in a direct interview. However, the referees’ misjudgment continued and the controversy over the strike zone is not easily subsided.
The strike zone is not the only one that affects the quality of professional baseball. On August 22nd, KIA Tigers’ winning game was reversed by one misjudgment. Kim Ho-ryeong, a center fielder of KIA, catched the opponent’s batting in his glove and did not miss the ball. But the referee misjudged and admitted it as a two base hit. In a flow-critical sports game, misjudgment changes the flow of the game, and on the game that day, the pitcher was eventually hit a home run and KIA suffered a reversal. What is more, the referee, who misjudged, is even a chief referee and came out to the game the next day without any sanctions. On that game, in a situation when KIA was winning by one point, KIA’s battery put the opposing runner out at the home plate. Then, the opponent requested a replay review. In baseball, the time allotted to replay review is three minutes, and if there is no evidence to overturn the original judgment within three minutes, the original one is maintained. However, the review took more than three minutes and even reversed the original judgment. The judge declared the runner’s safe and the game eventually tied at 6-6.
Referees are also human, so I admit that they can make misjudgment. However, they should acknowledge and reduce it. Presently, the judges are authoritative as if they were the top decision makers of the game. They should “open their eyes,” and should not “make a wrong call again.”
Lee Da-young firstname.lastname@example.org
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