Even the reading center is… nauseous.

Frequent bad calls…undermine authority
It’s meant to correct refereeing mistakes.
Beyond video review, it’s “game over

Subpar officiating, strong sanctions needed

온라인바카라 KIA manager Kim Jong-kook protests after his pitcher Yang Hyun-jong’s first-base walk, which blocked his view of the baserunners inside the Samsung Pirella foul line, was ruled a “pitcher’s walk” even after video review, at the Samsung Electronics Stadium in Gwangju on July 13. Yonhap News

Another major blown call in professional baseball. The authority of umpires and video review centers has fallen to the bottom due to frequent errors.

In the third inning of the Samsung-KIA game in Pohang on the 1st, an erroneous call was made on Samsung’s Ryu Ji-hyuk’s bat in the second inning. The outfield of Pohang Stadium has a barbed wire fence on top and a safety fence underneath, but Ryu’s hit hit the top of the safety fence and bounced high. A spectator touched the ball. The ball did not go behind the fence, and the spectator reached out to catch it, missed, and the ball fell to the ground.

The umpire gave the home run sign on this obviously non-home run. Samsung’s 4-0 lead became 6-0. KIA requested a video review, but the result was still a home run.

The KBO explained, “We had to make a video review on the broadcast screen and only checked the part where the spectator caught the ball, which led to a misreading.” Pohang Stadium is Samsung’s second stadium, so the KBO doesn’t have its own video equipment. If he had to rely on the broadcasters’ screens, he would have had to look closer and make a more careful judgment, but it took less than 30 seconds for the video call to be made.

Video review is meant to correct mistakes that a referee might miss with the naked eye. However, there are still situations where the referee does not see what the players see and the video review does not catch it.

The Reading Center previously failed to catch the ‘push tag’ in the Samsung-LG game in Daegu on May 13, and the KIA-NC game in Gwangju on June 16 and the KIA-Samsung game in Gwangju on July 13, giving completely different rulings in similar situations, such as whether a runner was obstructed by a three-foot violation.

The biggest blind spot of the video review system is that once the call is made, the outcome is out of the umpire’s hands. From the moment the headset is put on, the reading center is the only referee, and the on-field referee is only informed of the result. With no authority comes less responsibility. In the first place, it’s the referee’s job to see and judge correctly, but video review takes the focus off the referee and frees him or her from responsibility for the outcome. There are too many incorrect calls, and many people on the field see the video review as a kind of shield.

The video review is final. There has to be a line in the sand when it comes to challenging a call, and there’s nothing wrong with making it impossible to challenge the result. This season alone, six managers have been sent off a total of eight times. However, if we’re going to sanction protesting calls, we should also sanction repeated subpar calls.

In the end, the KBO recognized the blown call and issued a sanction. The KBO suspended the main referee in charge of the Samsung-KIA game in Pohang on February 2 for 10 games and the assistant referee and the head of the reading center for five games. The referee team for the game was also fined 1 million won for making inaccurate calls and showing inexperience in game management.

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