Amidst the controversy surrounding the drinking of some of the national teams at the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC), Kim Kwang-hyun (35-SSG Landers), Lee Yong-chan (34-NC Dinos), and Jung Chul-won (24-Doosan Bears) finally admitted to drinking and bowed their heads in front of the fans.
Kim Kwang-hyun apologized through his club for his recent controversial drinking incident ahead of a home game against the Samsung Lions at SSG Landers Field in Incheon on April 1, while Lee Yong-chan and Jeong Chul-won apologized through their clubs ahead of the Doosan Bears-NC Dinos game scheduled for the same day at Changwon NC Park (which was canceled due to rain).
Almost two months after the WBC ended, controversy over the drinking behavior of some WBC players has surfaced. “Based on a YouTube channel broadcast and further investigation, it was confirmed that three top pitchers who serve as starting aces or bullpen aces for their respective clubs were in and out of a bar in Akasaka, Tokyo, between the night of March 8 and the early morning hours of March 11,” a media outlet reported on March 30.
The media outlet reported that “Mr. B, a starting pitcher for Team A, took Mr. D, a right-handed bullpen pitcher for Team C, and they drank from 11 p.m. on March 8 to 6 a.m. the next day. They returned to the same bar on the night of March 10 and drank until dawn the next day. F, a right-handed reliever for Team E, reportedly drank at the same bar from the night of March 9 until dawn the next day.”
Following the report, the KBO and the clubs scrambled the day before to establish the facts, which they did during and after the game on the 30th. The issue was so big that the KBO announced on the morning of the 31st that it would “contact each player. On the morning of the 31st, the KBO announced, “After receiving a statement of explanation from each player and clearly identifying the facts, we will hold a penalty committee if there are any violations of the national team’s operating regulations.” Later that same day, the KBO said, “Today, the KBO asked three teams to submit a statement of reasons. The three players denied entering the snack bar the night before the tournament. However, they revealed that they had entered the establishment on the day they traveled from Osaka to Tokyo (March 7) and the day before the rest day (March 10).”
While the KBO did not release the real names of the three players, the baseball world was already talking about them. Eventually, Kim Kwang-hyun, Lee Yong-chan, and Chung Chul-won confirmed their drinking in front of fans.
“I am here in front of the media and fans to apologize for my behavior during the WBC. I would like to express my sincere apologies to all fans, media, and baseball players who love baseball for acting without thinking during the national tournament for whatever reason. As a veteran of the team, I regret that my thoughts were very short and I was unable to control myself,” said Kim.
“We will continue to work diligently on the KBO investigation and humbly accept the outcome. I will take this opportunity to reflect deeply and never again disappoint all those who love baseball. I sincerely apologize to the fans, media, and baseball officials who love and support baseball for the great disappointment caused by my unsavory behavior,” he said.
Lee Yong-chan also apologized, saying, “First of all, I apologize for the disappointment I caused to the fans and all the officials who supported me as a national team member. During the tournament, on the day before the rest day (March 10), I had dinner with an acquaintance at a Korean restaurant in Tokyo, then went to a nearby bar and stayed for about two hours before returning home. Regardless of the reason, I am deeply remorseful for consuming alcohol during the international tournament.”
“I will faithfully comply with the KBO’s procedures and humbly accept the consequences. I will act more carefully as a professional athlete in the future.”
Chung Chul-won, who was drinking with Kim Kwang-hyun, also bowed his head. “I had a drink with him (Kim Kwang-hyun) after the game against Japan on March 10 during the WBC. I acted in a shameful way at a time when many people were disappointed with the national team’s poor performance. I sincerely apologize. It was an inexcusable and frivolous behavior,” he admitted.
“I am ashamed of myself. I should have acted more responsibly as I received the honor of the Taekwondo Mark, but I violated the expectations and trust of the fans. I will work diligently on the KBO’s investigation and will accept any punishment or reprimand.” However, Chung denied that he was present with the hostess, saying, “It is true that I drank alcohol after the game against Japan, but I was never around women.”
The three players, whose names have been circulating, apologized in person, bowing their heads in front of the fans. SSG was initially scheduled to start Kim Kwang-hyun against Samsung on January 1, but the team replaced him with Baek Seung-gun after the incident. SSG then removed Kim Kwang-hyun from the first team roster. NC and Doosan, on the other hand, did not remove Lee Yong-chan and Jeong Chul-won from their first-team rosters.
During the WBC, there were reports that the national team players were under pressure and did not perform well. The players had a huge mission to promote Korean baseball, so of course they were under a lot of pressure.
Japan’s WBC team, on the other hand, was a different story, and they even had a dinner party a few days before the tournament to keep the team together. At the time, Darvish Yu and Shohei Ohtani posted on their personal social media accounts that they had gathered at a restaurant in Osaka. “Fans, let’s work together,” Otani wrote, calling for support from his many Japanese fans.
Kim Kwang-hyun also expressed his views during the tournament. Kim was talking to reporters before the team’s training session at the Tokyo Dome on the morning of the 8th. When asked about the team’s dinner party, he replied, “Did you have a dinner party?” and then added, “I think we have to perform well before we can have a dinner party. If we do it before the game, we might talk about it again. We’re always cautious and watchful,” he said.
However, Kim apologized after admitting that he had attended a drinking party on the 7th, the day before he made the comment. His words and actions were not the same, and fans were left furious. If Kim Kwang-hyun wanted to buy a meal for his high school junior Chung Chul-won, he could have done so at a nearby restaurant, not a snack bar.
When asked about the Japanese dining scene after the tournament, Kim Ha-sung said, “I learned about it from Darvish’s social media. We (Korea) didn’t have anything like that. I came to the national team after three years, but I was nervous about going out there. In the end, it was because of the atmosphere and the bad performance of our players. That’s why I think it’s inevitable,” he said.
The ball is now in the KBO’s court. The KBO doesn’t have a clear policy on the penalties for drinking during the national team’s call-up. However, it could be a violation of the KBO’s National Team Operating Obligations, which require players to comprehensively uphold their honor and dignity as national representatives during the call-up period. Article 13 [Discipline] of the KBO’s National Team Operating Regulations states, “A disciplinary committee shall be held for those who have caused social problems.
It would be irresponsible to blame the individual for the incident. In order to prevent this from happening again in the future, the KBO and the clubs need to provide more thorough education and guidance. A good example is the education conducted by the Sports Ethics Center for each team this year. The Sports Ethics Center recently conducted trainings on sports human rights and ethics, sexual assault and violence prevention for the Lotte Giants, LG Twins, and KIA Tigers’ first and second teams, as well as their staff. This is because such behavior can have a negative impact that goes beyond the individual athlete and the entire league and shakes the entire sport 토토사이트.
In fact, in the past, the KBO and its clubs have repeatedly promised to strengthen character education in response to players’ behavior, but little has changed. Some have suggested that disciplinary measures should be strengthened. Two years ago, after the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Kim In-sung told Star News, “There are ways to strengthen discipline, but we need to talk a lot when teaching players. I think athletes are too blind these days. We need to make them think, ‘What would happen if I got caught doing this?’ And I want them to always have the mindset of living within the common sense of society.”