Former national team members Kim Kwang-hyun (35-SSG), Lee Yong-chan (34-NC) and Jeong Chul-won (24-Dusan) bowed their heads and apologized for drinking alcohol at a nightclub in Tokyo, Japan, during the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March.
Kim Kwang-hyun admitted to drinking and apologized to the media before the 2023 KBO League game against the Samsung Lions at SSG Landers Field in Incheon on the 1st. At Changwon NC Park, where the Doosan Bears-NC Dinos game was scheduled to be held (rained out), Lee Yong-chan and Chung Chul-won admitted their wrongdoings to the press at different times.
On March 30, YouTube channel SAY ENTER and others reported that the two starting ace and bullpen pitchers visited an entertainment bar in the Akasaka area near their Tokyo accommodations during the WBC in March.
According to the report, they drank the night before the game against Australia on March 8 and the morning of the game against Australia on March 9, and continued to drink at the same place on March 10, the day after the team was eliminated from the tournament due to a loss to Korea.
Of course, drinking during the tournament is not a crime. It’s hard to argue that the team’s losses against Australia (7-8) and Korea (4-13) were due to drinking.
However, it is very disappointing to see the way the players prepared for their matches while representing their country on the international stage. The disappointing behavior of key pitchers, who are supposed to be in top form before the game, is an irresponsible aberration that is difficult to understand not only for baseball fans but also for the general public.
Recognizing the seriousness of the situation, the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) immediately began to investigate.
After completing its initial investigation, the KBO announced on the afternoon of March 31 that it “requested the three teams to submit a statement of explanation and nine teams, including the three teams, to submit a statement of fact.” The players, except for three, stated in the statement of fact that they had not entered an entertainment establishment before the official tournament on March 13 against China.
A day after submitting their statements, the players bowed their heads side by side on the baseball field.
Veteran ace pitcher Kim Kwang-hyun told reporters before the home game on the first day, “I did some unsavory things during the WBC. I want to apologize,” and “As a veteran of the team, my thoughts were too short. I have a lot of regrets,” and bowed his head.
“I also want to apologize to the junior players who were involved with me. I feel like I have scribbled on my baseball life, which has a great future ahead of me,” he said, adding, “The KBO investigation is underway, and I will faithfully receive the investigation and humbly accept the results that come out of it.”
Kim Kwang-hyun ⓒ Newsis
“The day before the rest day (March 11), I had dinner with an acquaintance at a restaurant in Tokyo, then went to a nearby bar and stayed for about two hours before returning to my hotel,” Yong-chan explained. “We went to a snack bar (not a room salon). I was accompanied by an acquaintance.” When asked if he sat with or talked to any female employees, he said “no”.
“I am deeply remorseful for drinking alcohol during the international tournament, regardless of the reason,” he said, adding, “I will faithfully respond to the KBO’s investigation process and humbly accept the results. I sincerely apologize to all the fans and officials involved.”
Kim Kwang-hyun’s teammate at Ansan Gonggo, Chung Chul-won, also issued an official apology.
“First of all, as a professional baseball player, I caused too much disappointment to baseball fans and everyone by wearing the national flag. “On March 10, during the WBC, we had a drink after the game against Japan. Many people were disappointed with the national team’s poor performance, and I acted shamefully. I sincerely apologize. My behavior was inexcusable and frivolous. I am truly ashamed of myself,” he said.
“At no time was the woman (employee) anywhere near me, and I left at around 2:30am. I went there to eat. (At the restaurant) you can also eat rice. I ate kimbap, sujebi, and tteokbokki,” he said.
The three people who submitted the police report admitted to drinking. However, the timing of the drinking differed from the reports, and they drew a clear line at having women in the room.
Some baseball fans who felt betrayed are ready to accept their apologies as sincere. However, if the negative behavior is followed by a false statement about the timing of the drinking, the team could face a difficult situation that will not only affect the player, but also spread distrust of Korean baseball beyond the KBO league.안전놀이터
The investigation is still ongoing. If they apologize, but their statements are found to be false, or if someone tries to cover up, it will be difficult for them to come back and ask for forgiveness from baseball fans who are still feeling betrayed. The baseball world and its fans are hoping that their statements and apologies are sincere.