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Ex-Baseballer`s Memoirs Talks of Drug Use, Cheating

Posted May. 20, 2009 03:05,   


“Baseball players sometimes exchange signs with players on opposing teams. Sometimes, friends on other teams asked me to teach them my team’s signs. They said a bad performance that day would relegate them to second string and that they wanted help. In those cases, I couldn’t refuse their requests.”

Xports’ commentator Ma Hae-yeong, who once played for the Lotte Giants, unleashed harsh criticism yesterday through his newly published memoirs, “The Original Character of Baseball (Those Who Have the Future).”

The slugger made his debut for Lotte in 1995. After being traded to the Samsung Lions in 2001, the Kia Tigers in 2004, and the LG Twins in 2006, Ma returned to Lotte and retired last year.

He has a career hitting average of .294, 1,609 hits, 260 homeruns, and 1,003 runs scored.

In his memoirs, Ma said around 10 pro players in Korea have taken steroids, mostly foreigners, but that certain Korean players were asked to take banned substances by the foreign players.

“Out of curiosity, certain Korean players took banned substances for a while. The number of Korean players who did is under 10 and most of them have retired. I cannot name them since I don’t want to injure their honor,” he said.

“When I was demoted to second string, I almost yielded to the lure of banned substances. But baseball players no longer took banned drugs. I hope you don’t exaggerate my statement. I wrote this book to prevent young players from falling into a trap.”

Ma also said certain players exchange signs with players on opposing teams, usually friends. “When my friends on the opposing team were about to be benched and asked me for my team’s signs, I couldn’t reject the requests. But these kinds of events happened only after the results were determined,” he said.

The Korea Baseball Organization and the pro league’s eight teams were quick to hit back at Ma’s accusations.

The league’s director of operations Lee Sang-il said, “We introduced drug testing in 2007 in a first for a professional sports league in Korea. Ma’s claim on banned drugs has significantly damaged the reputation of Korea’s professional baseball league.”

The league conducted two dope tests last year and will conduct three this year. All foreign players are subject to drug testing from this year.

Ma’s criticism of the Giants as “a miser” also angered the club. Team President Lee Sang-gu said, “Ma was misinformed. For example, we couldn’t sign Choo Shin-soo (Cleveland Indians) and Baek Cha-seung (San Diego Padres) since they kept asking for more money.”

Other critics say Ma’s memoirs could cause misunderstanding. A source from one team said, “When certain players suddenly gained weight, we suspected possible use of banned drugs. But we found no evidence. It was rash of Ma to write a book based on his suspicions.”