KBO bans player for 10 games after meltdown


SEOUL, June 21 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean baseball league on Tuesday handed down a 10-game ban on a player who lost his temper while arguing balls and strikes in a recent contest.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) also fined Hanwha Eagles shortstop Ha Ju-suk 3 million won (US$2,325) and ordered him to complete 40 hours of community service for his actions from last Thursday's game against the Lotte Giants.

The 10-game ban is the longest handed down to a player for arguing with an umpire this season. On May 30, Kiwoom Heroes infielder Jeon Byeong-woo was fined 500,000 won by the KBO for throwing his bat and helmet after a disagreement about a strike call during a game four days prior.

Ha's incident occurred in the bottom of the eighth inning at Hanwha Life Eagles Park in Daejeon, with the Eagles trailing 2-0.

With one out and a runner at first, Ha took a low pitch for a strike. He voiced his displeasure with the call made by home plate umpire Song Su-keun and took a few moments to gather himself before returning to the batter's box.

Ha struck out swinging and then slammed his bat onto the ground in apparent anger over the previous call.

Song ejected Ha from the game, but the player continued to argue as he picked up the bat and tossed it aside.

On his way back to the dugout, Ha hurled his helmet, which bounced off the wall and nailed the unsuspecting bench coach Wes Clements in the back of the head. Ha walked past Clements into the clubhouse without apologizing.

The Eagles demoted him to the minor leagues the following day, as an ostensible penalty. Ha later apologized to fans and teammates in a team-issued statement.

Under a recent rule change, a player who is disciplined by the KBO may not be punished again by his club, meaning the Eagles couldn't suspend or fine their captain for his meltdown.

The Eagles, a perennial doormat in the KBO, were in last place at 22-43-1 (wins-losses-ties) prior to Tuesday's action.

Source: Yonhap News Agency