Korean baseball players’ custom of celebrating a victory by pouring water over key players during post-game interviews was challenged Monday, after a popular announcer was splashed at a televised game.
Im Chan-gyu of the LG Twin became a topic of heated discussion among baseball fans after he accidently splashed a Jeong In-young, a female announcer for KBS N Sports.
The Twins beat the SK Wyverns 1-0 on Sunday, garnering their fourth win in the recent five games. After the game, announcer Jeong In-young interviewed Jeong Eui-yun, who led his team to victory with a game-winning hit in the ninth inning.
During the interview, LG’s Im Chan-gyu attempted to splash his teammate with a bucket full of water, missed and hit the interviewer instead. Announcer Jeong calmly apologized to the viewers and wrapped up the interview, but the incident ignited furor among fans.
As of early Monday, at least 1,200 angry fans swarmed Im’s homepage to berate him for what they called “unprofessional and immature” behavior.
“What you did was equivalent of a 3-year-old,” chided one fan. “It was just another regular season game, no reason to go overboard,” said another.
Neither Im or Jeong commented on the incident.
Jang Eu-rye, an announcer for SBS ESPN and acquaintance of Im, tweeted early Monday that Im told her he “did not intend to get Jeong, and is very sorry for the incident.”
The incident touched off a furious debate about the so-called “splash ceremonies.”
While it is common among athletes worldwide to splash each other after a victory, many Korean baseball players in recent years have made a habit of pouring water on a player while the target is doing a post-game interview. The new tradition was criticized by many because the players often miss the initial target and hit the interviewer instead.
Kim Sung-tae, a producer from the sports channel, bashed Im and the ceremony via Twitter on Monday. “If you want to celebrate, do it amongst yourselves. Would you be happy if we walked in while you are playing ball?” he wrote.
Kim also voiced concern that Jeong could have been electrocuted by the incident, which is often cited as a problem with the splash ceremonies.
Sports caster Daniel Kim of Spo TV also denounced Im’s actions. “Sports announcers are professionals, too. They do not go there (baseball games) to fool around,” he said.
By Yoon Min-sik