Posted December. 08, 2004 23:02,
The Korea Baseball Association (KBA)s move to reduce the number of high school baseball tournaments is creating a stir in baseball circles.
The KBA plans to hold a meeting of its board of directors on December 9 and reduce the number of high school baseball tournaments. Currently, there are four nationwide high school baseball league tournaments: the Presidential Cup, Blue Dragon Cup, Golden Lion Cup, and Phoenix Cup, and four provincial league tournaments: the Mudeung Cup, Daebung Cup, Hwarang Cup, and Michuhol Cup. The KBAs plan is to cut down the number of nationwide and regional tournaments to two, respectively, and hold them every two years.
However, many say that it is a tyrannizing act of the KBA to overthrow its previous line and to ignore the opinion of co-sponsoring media companies. Until last year, the KBA had worked on increasing the number of tournaments.
The KBA had been enthusiastic about expanding the number of high school baseball tournaments, and it even authorized the establishment of the Michuhol Cup, a regional tournament in the Incheon area, last year. Before the creation of the Presidential Cup in 1965, the Blue Dragon and the Golden Lion Cups were only two nationwide tournaments in Korea, like Japan. At that time, the Hwarang Cup was the only regional tournament existing, and it was the KBA who had been the most actively engaged in increasing the number of tournaments.
In response to this, the KBA said that the establishment of the Michuhol Cup was ratified before the current administration headed by its president Lee Nae-heun came into power. However, it is problematic when the policies of an association, which should be consistently carried out, change according to the members of the administration office.
Also, it is senseless of the KBA to make such a decision without consulting any opinion from the co-sponsors. Without the full-scale support of co-sponsoring media, Korean high school baseball would not have come up to the current level. The league started from the scratch after liberation and had its heyday during the 1970s and 80s, and is in a mature state right now. Therefore, before making a decision on such a grave issue, the KBA should have discussed the matter with the co-sponsors. Some even say that the decision of the board of directors without the opinion of the co-sponsors has no legally binding authority.
The head of secretariat of KBA, Lee Sang-hyun, said that including the National Sports Meet, there are nine tournaments in which high school baseball teams can participate. As a result, the players had to drive themselves physically and miss a lot of classes, which led to the lowering of the game quality. Lee said that it was an inevitable choice to strengthen the prestige of high school baseball tournaments and recover the popularity that high school baseball once used to have.
However, in order for high school baseball league to revive, the baseball experts say, efforts to expand the number of teams and enhance the quality of games should be attempted before trying to curtail the size of the league.