Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang was arrested last month after driving under the influence, crashing his car, and fleeing the scene. It was his third such DUI since 2009, which results in immediate revocation of his driver’s license in South Korea.
That hasn’t been the only trouble Kang has gotten into recently. He was investigated him after a sexual assault allegation in July. Needless to say, he doesn’t have the best track record heading into the upcoming World Baseball Classic.
Kim In-sik, the manager of South Korea’s WBC team, is considering removing Kang from his team’s roster due to “the worsening public opinion” of Kang, Yonhap News Agency is reporting. “Kang Jung-ho is a great player, but I’ve started to wonder if it’s worth the trouble taking him to the WBC. Personally, I am leaning toward taking Kang off the roster,” Kim said.
If Kang is indeed removed from the roster, Cardinals reliever Seung-hwan Oh would likely take his spot. Yonhap News Agency notes that Oh was fined in January 2016 by a South Korean court for illegal overseas gambling and would face a 72-game suspension if he were to return to the Korean Baseball Organization. Kim did not add Oh to South Korea’s roster due to public backlash over the right-hander’s gambling issues.
The new Collective Bargaining Agreement commits the players and the league to regular season games on foreign soil. Most of the focus of this has been on games in London, for which there has been a lot of activity and discussion.
Yesterday before the Astros-Tigers game in Houston, however, Commissioner Rob Manfred talked about playing games in Mexico. And not as just a one-off, but as a foot-in-the-water towards possible expansion:
Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday that the time had come to play regular-season games in Mexico City as Major League Baseball weighs international expansion.
“We think it’s time to move past exhibition games and play real live ‘they-count’ games in Mexico,” Manfred said. “That is the kind of experiment that puts you in better position to make a judgement as to whether you have a market that could sustain an 81-game season and a Major League team.”
A team in Mexico could make some geographic sense and some marketing sense, though it’s not clear if there is a city that would be appropriate for that right now. Mexico City is huge but it has plenty of its own sports teams and is far away from the parts of the country where baseball is popular (mostly the border states and areas along the Pacific coast). At 7,382 feet, its elevation would make games at Coors Field look like the Deadball Era.
Monterrey has been talked about — games have been played there and it’s certainly closer — but it’s somewhat unknown territory demographically speaking. It’s not as big as Mexico City, obviously. Income stratification is greater there and most of the rest of Mexico than it is in the United States too, making projections of how much discretionary income people may spend on an expensive entertainment product like Major League Baseball uncertain. Especially when they have other sports they’ve been following for decades.
Interesting, though. It’s something Manfred has talked about many times over the years, so unlike so many other things he says he’s “considering” or “hasn’t ruled out,” Major League Baseball in Mexico is something worth keeping our eyes on.
The score was tied in the top of the 10th inning in last night’s game between the Dodgers and the Cardinals. Yadier Molina was up to bat, facing Kenley Jansen and drove one to deep right center field.
Yasiel Puig was in full run for the ball as center fielder Joc Pederson ranged hard for it himself. Puig caught the ball, but not before slamming into Pederson. Both men went down, but Pederson went down harder, taking an elbow to the face from Puig before crashing head-first into the outfield wall.
Pederson came out of the game, apparently bleeding from his head. There will be an update on his condition today.
UPDATE: Oops, there was an update last night: