During Sunday’s game against Samsung, LG’s Dominican Republic pitcher, Radhames Liz, hit batter Bae Young-seop in the head with an errant pitch. An ambulance was called in to take Bae off the field and the game continued.
Liz, who leads the KBO in hit batters, then proceeded to strike out the next three hitters and followed it up with a brief celebration on his way off the mound.
The next day, a sports-related comic strip published on Nate.com by cartoonist Bounce Kim made a wildly derogatory connection between the three strikeouts (K-K-K) and the Ku Klux Klan –showing the ethnic African Liz being angrily chased by a group of white-hooded baseball klansmen.
As of Monday, the cartoon, which can be seen here, had been pulled from Nate.com and Kim (who is apparently known for his ill-humor) apologized on Facebook.
Was the hand-pumping celebration by Radhames Liz in poor taste? Probably. Heat of the moment aside. And if he has yet to offer an apology, he should. But Bounce Kim went way too far.
The KBO is already reeling from the Shane Youman controversy earlier this season. That whole mess drove the Korean Human Rights Commission to call on the KBO to get a handle on things.
As a fan of Korean baseball and having dealt with players and staff down here in Busan, it’s frustrating that crap like this from one person reflects poorly on the league as a whole.
As one Facebook commenter put it:
“As much as I love my country, I believe my country can do better. And, it disappoints and frustrates me to see some ignorant cartoonist post something like this in the name of ‘I-didn’t-know-it-would-cause-this-much-trouble.’”
H/T to Dan Kurtz at MyKBO.net
UPDATE (by Robert Koehler): Congratulations, Bounce Kim—you’ve made Deadspin.
UPDATE 2: Bounce Kim, which turns out to be a pair of cartoonists penning the comic, released a more extensive apology to baseball fans, Liz, Nate.com and Goal.com –who they also work for.
Now, let’s see if Nate and Goal pull a KTVU and lets these guys go.
Update 3: So much for that notion. According to SK Communications, parent company of Nate.com, there will be no disciplinary actions taken against the cartoonists.