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Boston Red Sox Reliever Byung Hyun Kim Has the World Against Him

Boston Red Sox Reliever Byung Hyun Kim Has the World Against Him

Posted October. 06, 2003 23:02,   

Updated January. 01, 1970 09:00

Boston Red Sox Reliever Byung Hyun Kim Has the World Against Him

Kim’s inappropriate behavior of giving the middle finger towards the spectators on October 5 has cost him the respect of his fans, the press, and his teammates. The Red Sox tried to stop the worsening of the situation by quickly making a public apology. Even though the Red Sox are on Kim’s side, the situation does not seem good at all.

General manager Theo Epstein, who played a key role in bringing Kim to the Red Sox from Arizona, stated in an interview with the Boston Herald on October 6 that, “Kim sincerely regrets his actions and that this will become an opportunity for him to mature.” He also added, “Besides the public apology by the Red Sox, no further actions will be taken in consideration of Kim’s actions.”

However, Red Sox fans are still furious. The Boston Red Sox homepage has been “bombed” in the last two days with hundreds of messages being posted by fans regarding Kim’s inappropriate behavior.

One message said, “Bring back Shea Hillenbrand (who had been traded for Kim).” Another message said, “Send Kim and his middle finger back to Korea.” Some fans even went to the extreme of posting messages with racial discriminatory content.

Kim’s position within the team is also worsening. During the third game of the American League Division Serious against the Oakland Athletics, Kim’s reluctance to play in the 11th inning with a tied score of 1-1 because of a “sore shoulder” is also contributing to the bad publicity he is currently receiving. On October 6, even though the Red Sox were winning 5-4, it seemed as if Red Sox head coach Grady Little refused to give Kim a chance to stand on the mound.

In Kim’s place, Scott Williamson pitched a perfect inning on October 5 and two perfect innings October 6, giving him the trust of the coaching staff and his teammates.

Emotionally discomforted, Kim even refused to give an interview to his Korean press reporters and told them to just “write according to the U.S. newspapers.”

Considering Kim’s position within the Red Sox and his bad current publicity, it seems as if his stay in Boston will not last long. Kim’s agent, Jeff Moorad, had stated that his plan was to raise Kim’s yearly salary to $5 million from his current $3.25 million, but it now seems impossible.

The Red Sox do not seem to be planning to simply “fire” Kim, but they are more likely to trade him because even though Kim also had bad experiences with coaches during his time in Arizona; which adds up to the current situation of making him look like a “troublemaker,” his relatively young age and respected pitching skills make him an attractive talent to trade.

Sang-Soo Kim ssoo@donga.com