Baseball club’s coach detained after allegedly beating up fellow coach in bar

SEOUL– A coach of the South Korean baseball club NC Dinos has been taken into police custody on charges of assaulting his fellow coach in a bar during the early hours of Tuesday, police said.

Police in Daegu, a city the Dinos are visiting for a regular season series in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), said Tuesday that the offending coach was placed under detention after apparently beating up the other coach in a Daegu bar. The incident happened around 3:40 a.m. Tuesday, police added.

Police initially withheld the identities of the coaches, but the Dinos revealed the names in their public apology issued Tuesday afternoon. They said fielding coach Han Kyu-sik is the one facing assault charges, and Yong Duk-han, who works with catchers, was the apparent victim.

The Dinos immediately terminated Han’s contract and released him. Yong was relieved of his duties and was removed from the active roster.

“We will take stern measures as necessary after the end of the investigation, and we will be transparent with our future steps,” the Dinos said in their statement. “We’d like to apologize to baseball fans for our lack of professionalism on and off the field.”

According to police, Yong was treated for injuries at a local hospital and was discharged Tuesday morning.

The Dinos are in Daegu, some 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, to play the Samsung Lions for three games starting Tuesday.

Prior to Tuesday’s game, Dinos’ manager Lee Dong-wook and general manager Lim Sun-nam both apologized for the incident.

“There is no excuse for something like this,” Lee said. “I am sure a lot of our fans are disappointed in us. As manager of this team, I would like to apologize.”

Lim, the general manager, said the team will not immediately fill the vacancies left by Han and Yong, and will have some remaining coaches pull double duties.

Lim said the Dinos will mete out their own punishment as necessary, in addition to whatever the KBO decides to do on Han and possibly Yong.

“Depending on the findings of the investigation, we may discipline more people (outside the two coaches),” Lim added. “We take this situation seriously. Something like this should never happen.”

When asked how the team can contain alcohol-related problems, Lim said, “It’s unrealistic to put a curfew on grown-ups. But we do have to find ways to handle excessive drinking that can have an adverse effect on the performance on the field.”

The Dinos said the incident has been reported to the KBO headquarters in Seoul and that they are trying to ascertain more facts.

The KBO will open disciplinary proceedings once the Dinos file a formal report of the case.

The Dinos are mired in last place this season at 8-18. They have dropped their past two games.

The incident is the latest black eye to the Dinos, a team with a recent history of off-field problems ranging from match fixing and impaired driving to illegal drinking parties during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last summer, the Dinos had four of their regulars suspended by the KBO for violating COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

These and other misconduct away from the field have been blamed for keeping fans away from the ballparks, as the KBO teams have been struggling to fill their seats despite the absence of restrictions on crowds.

Three of the suspended NC players — infielder Park Min-woo and outfielders Lee Myung-ki and Kwon Hui-dong — are eligible to return to the lineup Wednesday. They have served their 72-game suspensions handed by the KBO and an additional 25-game ban from the Dinos.

Lim, the general, admitted the timing of their return isn’t ideal, coming as it does in the aftermath of the coaches’ incident.

“We didn’t intend things to play out this way,” Lim said. “I think we will think about (putting the three on the active roster) until the last minute tomorrow. They obviously did something wrong but they have served their penalties.”

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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