Baseball miracle



South Korea won 6 times, the only unbeaten team, so far.


“We learned,” as Japanese manager Sadaharu Oh said after a thrilling loss to archrival Korea on Wednesday night, “that our opponent’s desire was higher than ours.”

And Korea’s Jong Beom Lee clenching both his fists as he doubled home his team’s only two runs in Wednesday’s win over Japan. There was Japan’s Hitoshi Tamura literally sinking, splay-legged, into the batter’s box as he struck out to end that game.

[I]Japan’s Ichiro, the King of Cool, let out a guttural, angry yell after the Koreans beat his team. His manager, the often granite-faced Oh, looked helplessly skyward after a critical misplay in the field earlier in the game. Earlier in the tournament, the Japanese were so upset about getting jobbed on a call that cost them a run – and a game against the U.S. – that they considered not returning to the field.

Whether all the passion is the result of nationalism, or xenophobia, or whether it’s simply a fervor that comes with playing on the best team that many of these players ever will play on, against some of the best teams that they will ever play against, really doesn’t matter. The emotion is there. It’s real. It’s raw. And it’s reflected in the stands, too.[/I]

Nearly 40,000 fans, a huge majority rooting for Korea, packed Angel Stadium on Thursday night to see Korea beat Japan. More than 40,000 were in the Tokyo Dome on March 5 for the first game between those two teams.

My hometown Gwangju is known well because of the 1980 massacre but also because of Tigers team. Baseball has always been the only thing about which Gwangju was better than Seoul, Daegu, and Busan. Jong Beom Lee happened to serve in the same division in Gwangju starting in Nov. 1994, 12 months after I started my military service there because for some reasons they made Tigers team members drafted to our battalion.

Nationalism and xenophobia surely played well during the 2002 Worldcup and 2006 WBC, but I silently believe politics and dictatorship played the biggest roles. Chon Du Hwan knew well how to use baseball (professional baseball starting two years after the 1980 coup) and the 1988 Olympics. It’s also true the players themselves worked very hard partly for their own successes and partly out of patriotism. Some US news reports were not completely true to imply the South Korean government has already decided to exempt the players from military service. In South Korea, Byung-Yeok (the draft) is still a lot more sacred than Olympics and any sports events even against Japan. You are called Son of God if you are exempted.


This is a very good team…and I think they have the most motivation out of everyone. In South Korea everyone has to serve in the army, and the members of the team that havn’t served their time will not have to if they win the WBC…I think that would give them an edge that say…the Americans were lacking. They didn’t have any fire unlike the Koreans who look like they really wanted to win.

Nice job South Korea :bow:


Maybe you didn’t read my post completely where I said that story reported in some US news sites isn’t true. Military draft is a sacred thing in South Korea. Sports games even against Japan are not. Just because you got a Gold medal in an Olympic game doesn’t mean you don’t have to serve. They will laugh at you, show contempt, and call you a Son of God. A popular singer named Yoo Seung Joon once became a US citizen. He wanted to avoid the draft. Nearly instantly, nearly everyone in South Korea wanted to make his entry into any South Korean port illegal.

However, whether the government and the people will agree in the end is yet to be decided. If someone can avoid military service just by winning an international sports event, or even receiving a literature or science prize, singers, businessmen, doctors, and all kinds of rich and professional young men will want the same thing. NK is just too close for SK to let such a thing ever to happen.


Guess I missed the end of your post :o The announcers doing the game were talking about it, so I figured it was true :doh: My bad :doh:


What happened, when I logged on this morning it said Japan and Cuba in the finals. I never even heard about Korea losing.


Right, Cuba against Dominican Republic and Japan against South Korea. South Korea won twice against Japan, first in Tokyo and second in Anaheim. Approximately 24 hour ago. The score was 6:0. Most South Koreans are still complaining that South Korea had to give up right after 6 unbeaten games while Japan’s score was 3 victories and 3 losses but it’s Japan that is to meet Cuba.

So what will happen to the South Korean baseball players that played especially well during this year’s WBC games? Do the government’s politicians and the public still want to let the players live without ever having to serve in the army even though they weren’t born princes? :slight_smile:

BTW, I know nothing about how good Cuba is at baseball. I didn’t even know the Netherlands and Venesuela had baseball teams for such international games. Maybe baseball is no more a sports event only for the US and a few of its East Asian countries of former Japanese Empire. I was once a Haetae Tigers fan from about 1982 to 1983, the only years I really watched baseball on TV. That was also when I often liked to sing a song “Ah, Dae Han Min Gook” which was one of the many propaganda products of the Chun Doo Hwan killer regime, the only regime in the history of the human race that resembed NK’s Kim Il Sung and Kim Jung Il regime. He created the South Korean professional baseball to make his dictatorship more acceptable in the eyes of the White House and the South Korean public and it was a big success.


Baseball has been a major sport in Cuba for many years. A handful of the better Cuban ball players have managed to escape from Cuba and eventually come to the USA and play in the major leagues.

Baseball is a major sport in Latin America and many of the very best ball players in the major leagues come from Latin America. For example a professional team such as the NY Mets, of their 8 position players, the 1st baseman, SS and center fielder will be from Latin America. Their best pitcher is from Latin America and it’s very possible that their 2nd baseman and right fielder will be from Latin America.