Author Archive

Shin-Soo Choo, South Korea Win Asian Games: Military Obligation To Be Waived?

A couple of weeks ago we discussed how Shin-Soo Choo faces the possibility of being forced to serve in South Korea’s military for two years, as all capable South Korean men are obliged to do, putting his baseball career on hiatus in the middle of its prime. The exception was that Choo could be waived of his duty if he secured a gold medal for his national baseball team at the 2010 Asian Games.

Well, guess what. Earlier today, South Korea knocked off Chinese Taipei by a final of 9-3, winning the gold.

Choo knocked in two runs today, and was a standout throughout the tournament, as he finished with a .517 average, three homers and a .700 OBP.

“I will now be able to focus strictly on baseball. A lot of fans and players have been concerned about my future and that led to great results here,” Choo told reporters. “It is an honor to wear the national flag and secure the gold medal for my country.”

As Jordan Bastian reports, this should now make Choo exempt from his military obligation to the country, as many speculated before the tournament began.

However, no official word has been handed down yet.

Choo, 28, has been one of the few bright spots for the rebuilding Cleveland Indians over the past couple of seasons. Should Choo be granted immunity, it’s expected that the Indians will try to ink Choo to a long-term deal.

Read more MLB news on

Shin-Soo Choo Counting Down the Days until Future Possibly Determined

While baseball may be about to enter the offseason here in North America, and players and fans of the San Francisco Giants are still basking in their championship season, one player is about to play arguably some of the most important baseball of his career.

Shin-Soo Choo will be representing his native South Korea in the 2010 Asian Games, which begin next Friday, with the baseball competition starting that Saturday.

However, Choo will be playing for more than just his country, but also his future, in a matter of speaking.

Choo, 28, has yet to complete his mandatory two years of military service to South Korea, which is to be done by all able-bodied South Korean men by the time that they turn 30.

Choo has become one of the better all-around outfielders in the American League over the past two or three seasons, and appears to be in the prime of his career, meaning a two-year break from baseball could be devastating both to his career and to the Cleveland Indians, for whom he plays.

There has been speculation, however, that it is possible for Choo to be granted an exception from his military service should he help the South Korean team bring home a gold medal at the games, putting a tremendous amount of pressure on Choo.

Another option for Choo would be to simply give up his Korean citizenship and begin the process of becoming an American citizen, but Choo has expressed concern in this, stating that the people of South Korea are very supportive of him, and he worries that this act would not be very well-received, reports an ESPN article from the spring.

Cleveland, and indeed baseball, fans may very well be paying more attention to the Asian Games than ever before, with the consequence of Choo missing two of his prime seasons in MLB being absolutely devastating.

Eleven teams will participate in the baseball competition at the games, which are being held in Guangzhou, China.

South Korea is in a pool with Pakistan, Hong Kong and the Chinese Taipei. They open the tournament against Taipei on the 13th.


For the latest news, updates and analysis, follow on Twitter @MWSsports

Read more MLB news on

MWS Top 10: Best Manager Ejections

In honour of the great hostile manager Lou Piniella retiring this weekend, we here at MWS have decided to count down ten of the best baseball manager ejections.

10. Terry Francona (Boston Red Sox, MLB)—2010 VS Toronto Blue Jays

Nothing too crazy here, though it is pretty funny to watch the usually collected Francona get tossed in Toronto, then sort-of mimick the umpire’s tossing motion.

9. Ricky VanAsselberg (Alexandria Aces, United League Baseball)—2008 VS Amarillo Dillas

What makes this ejection so great is the quiet beginning to it. VanAsselberg is out on the mound talking to the pitcher, the ump comes out to say time is up, and the two start to have a calm chat. Then, VanAsselberg is tossed and he loses it, showing the ump what he thinks of the strike zone before tossing the team’s bats onto the field. Oh, and his name is VanAsselberg, classic.

8. Wally Backman (South Georgia Peanuts, South Coast League) – 2007 VS Anderson Joes

NSFW language alert! This classic ejection comes with a mic’d-up Backman, because his team was being chronicled in a TV documentary titled “Playing for Peanuts”. After one of his players gets himself tossed, Backman comes out to argue his case. You get to hear his tirade in great uncensored sound, and watch him as he loses it.

7. Joe Mikulik (Asheville Tourists, South Atlantic League) – 2006 VS Lexington Legends

Another great minor league ejection here. Asheville manager Joe Mikulik comes out to argue a call, gets tossed, then decides to get his money’s worth by taking second base, dirtying up home plate, tossing bats, and then feeling bad, so returning to home plate to clean it off with a water bottle.

6. Lou Piniella (Seattle Mariners, MLB) – 1998 VS Cleveland Indians

This video is a little slow to actually get on with it (the guy making it seems to think we want to look at his ticket for some reason), but it shows the man of honour for this list in one of his great rampages. From twelve years ago, Lou comes out, gets tossed, then kicks his hat around the infield.

5. Lou Piniella (Chicago Cubs, MLB) – 2007 VS Atlanta Braves

Back-to-back Lou is necessary following this second great tantrum, this time with the Chicago Cubs, and nearly ten years after the first one. This one, his first with Chicago, sees Lou kick dirt on the umpire. One of the best parts of this one is the fans in the outfield taking Lou’s move and tossing their hats from the stands.

4. Kash Beauchamp (Wichita Wingnuts, AAIPB) – 2008 VS ???

This features some classic, original moves from a manager. Beauchamp, after being tossed, waves his armpit odor at the umpire and waves his shoe around in the ump’s face. Classic.

3. Butch Hobson (Nashua Pride, CanAm League) – 2007 VS North Shore Spirit

This is just great from former Boston Red Sox player Butch Hobson. The call goes against the Spirit, then is reversed, putting Hobson over the edge. He steals first base, which is pretty ordinary, but then takes the base up into the stands, and hands it over to a kid. Stadium staff must then take it back from the boy, causing them to be the bad guys. Hilarious.

2. Earl Weaver (Baltimore Orioles, MLB) – 1980 VS Detroit Tigers

What is often called the best ejection in Major League history, Earl Weaver absolutely loses his mind in this clip from the 80’s. The best part is the banter between the two of them, especially the response from umpire Bill Haller, who keeps telling Weaver that he’s never knocked anybody out, and then begins to call him a liar.

1. Phillip Wellman (Mississippi Braves, Southern League) – 2007 VS Chattanooga Lookouts

Okay, this one may even be a little too over-the-top, but it is undeniably the greatest ejection in baseball history. I won’t spoil too much in this one, but a high point is Wellman doing his impression of a Marine in this toss.

Read more MLB news on

Hanley Ramirez and the Florida Marlins: A Debacle in the Making

The Marlins are playing without Hanley Ramirez, the face of their franchise, this afternoon. The reason for his not playing is unclear; whether he is injured or whether the decision was made by manager Fredi Gonzalez.

Ramirez was benched during Monday’s game after booting a ball into left field and then nonchalantly chasing it down; allowing two runners to score and enabling batter Tony Abreu to reach third.

Following the inning, Gonzalez sat Ramirez down to speak to him and then benched him for the remainder of the game.

Ramirez was upset about being benched, stating that he had been injured in the first inning following his fouling a ball off of his left leg.

Speaking to reporters following the game, Gonzalez spoke out on the issue.

“Whether he was hurt or not, we felt that the effort wasn’t there,” Gonzalez told reporters following Monday’s game. “There are twenty-five guys who are busting their butts. There are some injuries there, but we expect an effort from twenty-five guys on this team and when that doesn’t happen, we have to do something.”

Also following the game, Gonzalez reportedly asked Hanley to apologize to his teammates for his lack of play. Ramirez refused to do so, saying that he was injured and was playing his hardest.

Regardless, Gonzalez feels that Ramirez’s lack of effort was enough to have him benched today, which Hanley was unhappy about.

“It’s his team, he can do whatever he ****ing wants,” Ramirez said to reporters. “We’ve got a lot of guys dogging it on ground balls. They don’t apologize.”

He went on to fire a direct shot into his manager’s heart, saying of his removal in Monday’s game, “That’s ok. He doesn’t understand that. He never played in the big leagues.”

The battle between Ramirez and Gonzalez has clearly taken on an ugly face, with fans turning sour on Ramirez for both his actions and his speaking out on the topic.

One Sun-Sentinel article compared the instance to a similar one by Jimmy Rollins in 2008, when Rollins didn’t run out a fly ball that landed. Following Rollins’ mishap and lack of effort, he was very apologetic and seemed genuinely sorry.

“It’s my fault,” Rollins said to reports on being pulled from that game. “That’s like breaking the law and getting mad when the police show up.”

After he was benched, Rollins remained on the bench and cheered on his teammates, taking the role as a supporter for the end of the game.

“We’re a team, I’m not going to be a distraction that way,” Rollins told reporters on his remaining on the bench. “I did what I did, ok, but I still have to pull for my team. It’s not their fault. They shouldn’t have to worry about that being a distraction.”

Apparently, Ramirez doesn’t feel the same way, as he is very much making it a distraction and calling out other players on the team

Gonzalez stuck up for his players and compared Hanley’s injury to that of Cody Ross, who was hit with a fastball in the game.

Gonzalez said to reporters, “[Ross] got hit with a ball at 95 mph, it wasn’t hit or thrown any slower and he stayed in the game making diving plays and battling, got two hits and an RBI.”

The future of this debate is unknown, but the near future in the Marlins clubhouse looks ugly. Fans disappointed with their All-Star player, the media having headlines like “Why Can’t Hanley Ramirez Be More Like Jimmy Rollins,” and a star player criticizing the talent and hustle of his teammates.

Ramirez has since (somewhat, maybe) tried to downplay his criticism of teammates, saying to reporters, “I respect everybody, but I don’t know if I get the same respect back.”

Asked when fans can expect to see Ramirez back in the lineup, Gonzalez stated that he did not yet know.

“I think he needs to talk to his teammates a little bit,” Gonzalez said to reporters. “Whatever feelings he has for me are fine and dandy. We don’t have to get along, but I think he needs to get along with the other 24 guys on his team and when that happens, we’ll run him back out there. If he sets his ego aside, I think he’ll be good.”

Well, battle lines have definitely been drawn in Florida. Many questions are already being drawn up, such as if someone has to go, will it be Hanley or Gonzalez? What do his teammates think about being called out? Who are the fans siding with?

So far this season, Ramirez, the 2006 NL Rookie of the Year and two-time All-Star, is batting .293 with seven homers and 20 RBI through 39 games.

Read more MLB news on

Toronto Blue Jays Lose Most Anticipated Series of the Year—Literally

It was one series that was guaranteed to finally bring fans into the seats at Rogers Centre over the course of this year.

In the year following Roy Halladay’s move to Philadelphia, the Phillies were set to travel to Toronto for a three-game interleague set from June 25-27.

Expecting a total crowd of 90,000 for the series, the decision was officially announced today by Paul Beeston, President of the Blue Jays, as a result of the upcoming G20 Summit which is set to take place the same weekend in downtown Toronto.

Beeston claimed that the move did not come at the request of the Summit organizers, but by the organization itself, hoping to save fans the hassle of going through security restrictions to attend the game (Rogers Centre falls right in the area sanctioned off for heavy security at the Summit).

The series will be moved back to Philadelphia, following no other options to play the games at the end of the year or to fit them into a shorter time period (i.e. playing a double-header on Friday).

In terms of financial restitution, the two organizations have struck a deal which will see the Jays break about even for the series.

The Jays have stated that if they knew the Summit would be scheduled for that weekend, they never would have scheduled those games for those dates.

The real issue that many fans have is the fact that the Summit has been scheduled for months, yet the Jays nor MLB took any action earlier to try to accommodate the games and the G20.

Also causing some concern is the fact that the Jays did not make any effort to play a game at a neutral stadium, which could create lots of revenue for the team and bring in new fans to the organization.

As to where, that would have created yet another debate, though Montreal or Vancouver could play suitable Canadian hosts, or the team could follow in the Expos’ footsteps and sell out a stadium in Puerto Rico, in my opinion.

Regardless, the Jays may have cost themselves the biggest series of the year, as many fans were making special arrangements for the chance to see Doc return to Rogers Centre.

Oh, but don’t worry, Beeston said they will try to accommodate those who had made special plans and preparations to travel to the city for those weekend games.

Overall, it’s a bit of a madhouse.

Read more MLB news on

Royals Fine Yuniesky Betancourt For Poor Play

No, no, not his overall play, for a literal single play.

According to the Kansas City Star , the Royals have fined Betancourt, the team’s shortstop, following a dropped fly ball in Friday’s loss to the Texas Rangers.

The ball was hit to the grass just past the infield, where Betancourt attempted to make a flashy one-handed catch at shoulder level. Unfortunately, he dropped it, allowing a run to score and to give Texas an early 2-0 lead.

The Royals decided that enough was enough. They fined the shortstop, but club officials are refusing to release how much the fine was worth.

Kansas City manager Trey Hillman stated that he will not force Betancourt to change his style of play and catching, but hinted that these fines may continue.

“He’s been doing it like that for his whole life,” Hillman said to the Star . “If you can’t get comfortable with the correct technique, then understand the next part of the equation is if you drop it, you’re going to make us look bad, and it’s going to affect our club, and we’ve got to have some recourse and take some action.”

Betancourt has since said that he will work on fixing his technique, but says he does not recall previously dropping a fly ball.

Betancourt did not lose any playing time following the play, and it appears that the message is that he can play however he wants, but there will be repercussions for unnecessary errors.
“I want to give guys freedom with their comfort zone,” Hillman said. “As long as they continue to get the job done. If they don’t get the job done, there have to be repercussions. The bottom line is you have to catch it.”
This unprecedented act raises the question about whether this is the way for teams to go about disciplining players for poor play. 
Should they work to fix the styles that cause the problems, or let the players play however they want and punish them financially if that style comes back to hurt the team?
It will be interesting to see if they continue to act on this, and if any other team picks it up.

Read more MLB news on

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress