The World Baseball Classic is arguably the biggest baseball tournament in the world. It has garnered even more importance with the Olympics eliminating the sport, yet some may not fully understand what it means to countries outside of the USA. That was on display recently as four advance scouts for Chinese Taipei were caught posing as umpires and sneaking into a South Korean practice.
South Korea was in Dou Liou City, Chinese Taipei preparing to play the new professional team from the KBO, the NC Dinos. The team is preparing for the First Round of the 2013 Classic where it has been placed in Pool B, which also features Chinese Taipei.
The scouts posed as umpire trainees to gain entrance, but set off some alarms when they started timing the delivery of the pitchers. They were eventually ejected from the stadium.
This was not the first time they had tried to scout the team either. Last Wednesday, they tried to scout South Korea on its first day of training camp forcing Korean manager Ryu Joong-il to ask the KBO to only allow authorized personnel into the stadium during practices.
The Chinese Professional Baseball League apologized to the KBO via email. The CPBL said the scouts had gone to the game without gaining the proper approval.
This is just an example of how the teams take this very seriously. Even though Korea’s manager was not too bothered by the whole episode, he understands why they were there. He was quoted by Yonhap News saying, “In modern baseball, it’s a battle of who gets the edge in collecting advance information, and there’s nothing I can do about it. I don’t really care too much.”
There is a lot of pride in the game in these countries, and they will do what they can to get ahead of the pack and hopefully get an edge that can push them over the top and perhaps pick up a win or two.
The two teams will face one another in the first round. They will play each other for the first time on March 5. The Netherlands and Australia are the two other teams that make up Pool B.