Sunday, December 30, 2007


Stupid Better Devil Newpaper


I was all set to write something nice about Korean baseball. You see, there’s an oil spill west of Korea and one of the teams is helping clean it up. I may still write something. But, you know, I’m a little tired today. Long day down at the ol’ meat processing plant, so I’m a little touchy. Instead we’re going to go over this fine piece of work from the pen of Kang Seung-woo. It’s another multi-dimensional article printed by the Korea Times.

Multi-dimensional because while it presents some decent info, it also manages to be badly edited (at least in the headline) and while I don’t want to call it racist, it does express a certain level of disdain for foreign baseball players in Korea. It’s much more fun to write about than your average middle-of-the-road information-based article. Especially when your hands are so sore from picking up sides of beef and pig all day.

Let’s start with the title:

Better Devil You Know

So here we have a “twist” on the familiar idiom sometimes the devil you you know is better than the devil you don’t know. Of course this would be a chopped up idiot editor version, but we get the gist. As far as idioms go, I can live with it. My grandmother liked it too, but then she stopped saying it in 1988 when she felt it had gone out of style.

But that’s beside the point. This is an article about foreign players in Korean baseball and how teams in the Korean league, rather than looking overseas and signing an unknown personality, their signing players who have already played in Korea.

This idea is logical. As we know, signing a player who has never set foot in Japan or Korea can sometimes produce disastrous results, this, seemingly regardless of the player’s level of talent. So it probably does make sense for the Doosan Bears to bring back a player like Gary Rath, who has lived in Korean, eaten Kimchi etc., as opposed to signing a talent with slightly more upside.

But why are we calling them “devils”? Don’t think for a second this is a mistake on the part of the writer (or more accurately, the headline editor). There are far better pieces on this subject that what I will write here, but the Korean media’s ideas about foreign blood would probably surprise you if you delve into it just a little.

The article mentions the fact that two American pitchers, Jamie Brown and Chris Oxspring, have signed with the LG Twins. Brown has played with Samsung for two years and is one of the better pitchers (of any race) in the league. Oxspring came over from the U.S. in July and posted a 3.24 ERA for a fairly bad team. This will give the Twins one of the better 1-2 punches in the league.

“It is not risky to bring Brown because he has already vindicated he is effective in Korea,” the Twins said. “Jamsil Stadium is much bigger than Daegu Stadium, so he will be able to throw more with comfort.”

Very true.

The next piece of useful info is that Jacob Cruz of the Hanwha Eagles is moving over to Samsung.

Even though his chronic Achilles tendon injury and sluggish exhibition in the postseason caused the Eagles to release him, his prolific stats of 22 home runs and 85 RBIs ― both categories ranking in the top five ― with a batting average of .321, are enough to attract the offense-poor Lions.

Cruz wasn’t released. His contract expired. Maybe Hanwha choose not to sign Cruz, but that’s not a release. My guess is that Cruz went to Samsung because they offered him more money. Offensively he was one of the best position players in the league. Not only was he in the Top 5 in HR and RBI, he was 6th in BA and third in slugging. PS: “prolific” is a bad word choice. It contradicts what you’re saying about him being chronically injured (by the way, he missed five games last season). Prolific is something like fertile. Cruz had one very good season.

This kind of phenomenon is likely to continue because teams have suffered setbacks with their new imports, even though they had high-profile careers. It has been common that former U.S. Major Leaguers leave Korea even before playing their final game of the season.

That right, because Korean teams sign foreign players and toss them aside like garbage if they don’t immediately produce. This makes for a league where Korean players are glued to the same team for their entire career, because teams that sign free agents must pay such high compensation, but foreign players are shuffled around two and even three times in a year. Typically, this has bearing on who wins the Championship, since foreigners are more often than not, bat in the middle of lineups or are at the front end of starting rotations.

I could be wrong, but off the top of my head, I can’t think of a single foreign player that has “left” a team. The writer isn’t saying they “leave” teams as in walk out, although he’s insinuating it by phrasing it that way.

In addition, as released players sometimes revive their careers with another team ― like Rios, Rath, Tilson Brito, Mark Keeper and Martinez ― each club sets its eye on players active in Korea.

Um, Rios was never released. He was traded and then he recently left Korea because teams won’t pay him big money like Japanese teams will (did).

Friday, December 28, 2007

By Kang Seung-woo
Staff Reporter

KT has become a savior for the beleaguered Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) by joining the Korean league as its eighth member.

KBO commissioner Shin Sang-woo announced Thursday that the communications service provider and the baseball governing have agreed on establishing a new baseball team.

As the company opted for a new team instead of buying the Hyundai Unicorns, which are suffering from serious financial problems, the four-time Korean Series champion has ended its short but impressive 12-year history.

``As KT will organize a new club, it will pay about 6 billion won ($6 million) as a membership fee,'' Shin said.

The amount is one sixth of the 43 billion won which the Unicorns paid for taking over the Taepyungyang Dolphins in 1996. The SK Wyverns paid 25 billion won when they joined the league in 2000.

The new member will be based in Seoul, which already has two franchise teams, the LG Twins and the Doosan Bears, and use Mokdong Baseball Stadium as its home field.

The ballpark is under remodeling at a cost of 5 billion won by the Seoul Metropolitan City

KT has already begun to recruit for the team and will decide on a name and emblem as well as holding an organizing ceremony in January.

However, KT has still has a long way to go to be ready for next season.

The KBO, which had only been bent on finding a replacement for the Unicorns, allowed the company to forego paying 5.4 billion won in compensation to the incumbent Seoul-based teams for taking Seoul as its franchise city.

``Although Commissioner Shin said he had sought seven teams' understanding, the board of directors just agreed on next season going with eight teams, and we didn't know that he would manage this issue on his own,'' LG Twins general manager Kim Yeon-joong said in an interview.

``I don't think KT can have the right to settle in Seoul without payment because it did not take over the Unicorns.''

The Unicorns acquired the right when they yielded their former home field in Incheon, to the Wyverns in 2000 and moved to Suwon but their financial troubles did not permit the team to leave their new home.

The Bears also have a similar opinion, saying, ``Too many benefits for KT can damage the rest of the league.''

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Top 10 News Stories of 2007

1. Conservative Elected President: Lee Myung-bak of the conservative opposition Grand National Party won the 17th presidential election by a landslide on Dec. 19, ending a 10-year liberal presidency of Korea. He successfully appealed to the nation with his pledge to revive the economy based on pragmatic conservatism. However, financial fraud allegations have haunted him throughout the campaign. Voters chose his career success as the CEO of Hyundai Engineering and Construction and Seoul mayor to lead the nation.

2. President Roh Meets N. Korean Leader in Pyongyang: President Roh Moo-hyun held a second inter-Korean summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang from Oct. 2-4. They agreed to declare the end of the 1950-53 Korean War with heads of relevant states, establish the peace and economic zone in the West Sea, and expand inter-Korean economic cooperation. The summit came seven years after former President Kim Dae-jung held the first summit with Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang in June 2000.

3. Diploma Forgery: Triggered by Shin Jeongah, 35, an “assistant professor” at Dongguk University, the diploma forgery scandal hit the nation in the months since July.

Beginning with Shin, a number of prominent figures in the field of the arts, broadcasting and other areas were found to have forged their diplomas.

The disturbing scandal offered an opportunity for Koreans to look back on a society in which educational background serves as a pivotal role for success.

4. Oil Spill: More than 10,500 tons of oil was spilled in the sea off Taean, South Chungcheong Province, on Dec. 7, after a Samsung Heavy Industries barge collided with the 146,000-ton Hong Kong-registered tanker “Hebei Spirit.”

The local government has estimated that 5,159 hectares of fisheries and marine farms have been damaged, with another 9,000 hectares expected to suffer losses.

More than 300,000 volunteer workers have participated in the cleanup operation to overcome the manmade environmental catastrophe.

5. Korea-US Free Trade Accord: South Korea and the United States signed a free trade agreement in June, putting an end to more than one year of tense negotiations. The landmark deal is expected to pave the way for the two allies to enhance their relations.

However, the FTA still has a long way to go, as it requires legislative ratification by both countries.

The deal was reached despite strong opposition from local farmers and labor groups, which claimed that cheaper U.S. products and merchandise would hurt their livelihood.

6. Korean Hostages in Afghanistan:
A group of 23 Christian volunteers were held hostages by the Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan on July 19.

It took 43 days for the Taliban to release all the hostages but two men were shot to death by the militants.

The incident raised questions on the government’s direct negotiation with terrorists and the probable ransom given to the Taliban. Christians’ evangelical activities overseas, particularly in Islamic countries, were criticized.

7. Yeosu Expo 2012: In November, Korea’s southern coastal city of Yeosu successfully won the bid to host the 2012 World Expo.

After over 500 days of all-out bidding efforts, the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE) announced at its 142nd General Assembly in Paris that Yeosu beat out Warsaw, Poland and Tangier, Morocco to host the world’s third-largest event.

To welcome the some 8 million expected domestic and overseas visitors, the government has pledged to speed up its infrastructure construction to build highways and railroads. An estimated 1.7 trillion won is to be poured into constructing the expo complex and about 12 trillion won has been budgeted to build the necessary infrastructure.

8. Sports Stars: South Korean teenage phenoms Park Tae-hwan and Kim Yu-na continued showing flashes of greatness in 2007.

Park, an 18-year-old swimmer, won the gold medal in the men’s 400-meter freestyle at the World Championships in March in Melbourne, Australia, holding off rival Grant Hackett. Park also gained nine golds at three World Cup series meets.

Kim, a 17-year-old women’s figure skater, topped the International Skating Union (ISU) World Grand Prix Final for the second straight year in December in Turin, Italy. She had two wins from the Russian and Chinese Cups.

9. KOSPI Opens 2,000-Point Era: The Seoul stock market posted a lot of records this year, with the benchmark KOSPI rising above 2,000 points for the first time on July 25. Until Oct. 31 when the index reached the year’s high of 2,064.85 points, the index set records 51 times.

The key index has suffered steep correction since November in line with the U.S. subprime meltdown. Still, the Seoul market posted the 8th biggest gain in the world this year, with the yearly gain reaching about 30 percent.

Seoul stock gains are remarkable, given foreign investors sold a record amount of Seoul stocks worth 25 trillion won. The market is expected to perform strongly next year on steady flows of fresh money into equity funds.

10. BBK and Samsung Scandals:
The stock rigging scandal involving a financial company, “BBK,” and Samsung Group’s slush fund scandal, both of which tarnished Korea’s image at home and abroad, will face investigation by an independent counsel from next year.

The BBK scandal, in which president-elect Lee Myung-bak is allegedly involved, is likely to be the last obstacle for Lee on his way to the nation’s top post next February.

Samsung Group’s slush fund scandal triggered by disclosures by former Samsung lawyer Kim Yong-chul will also be face a special investigation after President Roh Moo-hyun appointed Cho Joon-woong, a former chief of the Incheon Prosecutors‘ Office, to head an independent probe into corruption allegations involving the group.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007




During this holiday season this is one small way to say thank you and express our gratitude to all of our service men and women for their unselfish and unwavering commitment to protect and preserve our freedom. Let's acknowledge these heroes and those that have fallen. Let us not forget the families waiting to be reunited and the families of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
my daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree, I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep
in perfect contentment, or so it would seem.
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eye when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
and I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts,
to the window that danced with a warm fire's light
then he sighed and he said "It's really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night"

"Its my duty to stand at the front of the line,
that separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.

My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,"
then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red white and blue... an American flag.

"I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home,
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat,
I can carry the weight of killing another
or lay down my life with my sisters and brothers
who stand at the front against any and all,
to insure for all time that this flag will not fall."

"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone.
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.

For when we come home, either standing or dead,
to know you remember we fought and we bled
is payment enough, and with that we will trust.
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."


Well once again I hope that everyone enjoys the Xmas cartoons. To Claudia and Sean, once again its Christmas and once again I have no idea where you 2 are. I miss you 2 so much. You are growing up and I miss you both each day a little bit more. Xmas id the lonely time without you 2. Please realize that your father loves you 2 both very much.