Living in Newark, NJ now (yes, the name of this website has been irrelevant for the last 6 months), I get a good fill of New York sports news, which is great. One thing I miss though is Baltimore sports news. Baltimore sports news, specifically about the Orioles, is a combination of extremely depressing, pathetic and sometimes absolutely bizarre.
My Dad sent me an article today, explaining that the Orioles are effectively banned from South Korea.
Really. Like actually they can no longer scout the Korean Baseball Organization. The league actually governs the High School and College games in the country as well, so the Orioles are no longer welcomed to scout Korean players, right now, at any level.
How did this happen?
Last month, the Orioles signed Kim Seong-min, one of the best pitching prospects in South Korea. The left hander is 17, and signed a 550,000 dollar contract and will be with the team in Minor League Spring Training. According to the Baltimore Sun, “Kim…was not reportedly in his final year of high school when the Orioles signed him”*. the Korean Baseball League is upset at the Orioles because in their eyes, since Kim was not out of high school yet, the O’s breached protocol by swooping in and signing Kim. The League now wants overall tighter regulations when dealing with the MLB and Korean prospects (essentially a home field advantage in keeping their own citizens).
I heard a very interesting take on this situation on radio today. There is the complete possibility that the Orioles really like Kim, knew the rules, but didn’t want to risk losing Kim. So they decided to risk their future in scouting in Korea for signing Kim. I guess this is possible.
Overall, I just find it really entertaining that the Orioles organization is now essentially banned from scouting the entire country of South Korea. Judging by the Orioles record of signing players out of South Korea, which would just be Kim, I don’t think the O’s are too torn up about this.
* Encina, Eduardo. “O’s scouts can’t go to S. Korean Tourneys” 2/10/12 Baltimore Sun