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BK, Insulting Spectators.

Posted October. 05, 2003 00:10,   


Kim Byung-hyun created a stir after an outburst by confronting spectators.

On October 5 at Fenway Park, in the third game of the American League Division Series against the Oakland Athletics, Kim Byung-hyun raised his middle finger at some onlookers who heckled him during player introductions.

This gesture is considered an extreme insult in American society. After the game, Kim Byung-hyun officially apologized, but the sensation is still spreading. As a result, Kim Byung-hyun is confronting his most critical moment in his life as a baseball player.

On that day, when the announcer called his name, the home fans of Boston ridiculed Kim Byung-hyun by booing him. The reason for this was that in the first game of the series with Oakland, he went to the mound with his team leading Oakland by one run, 4-3, in the bottom of the 9th inning, but he promptly responded by giving up a walk and hit a batter. While being booed, Kim Byung-hyun lifted his right hand and touched his cap and took down his arm. After this, he raised his right middle finger while putting up his right arm again.

This appearance was shown on the scoreboard in the stadium, and on TV, his actions were replayed. The Associated Press immediately sent a telegram covering this incident. ESPN accurately announced with the title of “Kim Byung-hyun, insulted by fans, took a lewd gesture’.

After the game, Kim Byung-hyun said, “I regret my impolite response. I apologize to my Red Sox home fans, residents of New England, and to baseball fan around the world. I am sorry for my actions.”

But the press and fans of Boston will not leave the matter alone. Major League Baseball plans to further investigate the incident.

Because of this, Kim Byung-hyun is in a crossroad in his professional career to see if he will continue his life as major league player as well as remaining in or leaving Boston.

Jose Mercedes, a pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles, submitted a $5,000 fine for raising his middle finger at onlookers in a game against the Boston Red Sox April 2001. Also, Jose Paniagua, a pitcher for the Chicago White Sox, was released from his team the day after he raised his middle finger at a referee in a game against the Minnesota Twins on September 10.

Chang Jeon jeon@donga.com