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Park Myung-hwan’s Controversial “Cabbage Pitch”

Posted June. 21, 2005 07:43,   


"Is it against the rules to pitch wearing a cabbage leaf?"

Doosan pitcher Park Myung-hwan is on the hot seat for pitching on June 19 at Jamsil Stadium against Hanhwa wearing a frozen cabbage leaf inside his hat to cool off from the heat.

The KBO (Korea Baseball Organization) decided to hold a rules committee meeting on June 21 to rule whether the “cabbage pitch” was a violation and to set specific limits on pitchers’ forbidden items stipulated by baseball rules.

During the game, Park had his hat fall off twice during pitches, which revealed a cabbage leaf, but the umpire did not call it. Park pitched for seven scoreless innings and earned his ninth win of this season. However, a day after the game, some argued that Park violated baseball rule article 8.02(b) stipulating: “a pitcher is immediately ejected from the game if he wears or carries a foreign substance.”

Acts to influence pitches by tampering with the ball are strictly forbidden in baseball. A shine ball, where one makes the ball smooth by rubbing it, a spitball, a saliva-laden ball, and a mud ball, a ball with mud on it, are typical examples of illegal pitches. In the Major Leagues, when playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks Kim Byung-hyun (Colorado) was ejected from a game when it was discovered that he was wearing a patch, and the umpire ordered Seo Jae-weong to take off his Buddhist bracelet.

The KBO explained, “In common sense, it is difficult to consider that wearing a cabbage leaf will affect pitches, but since it has become a controversy, we decided to set a limit on the boundaries of foreign substances.”

Sung-Kyu Kim kimsk@donga.com