A writer for OSNews, disturbed by a few recent cases of foreigners, and then Koreans, running onto baseball fields during games, set pen to paper and denounced the foreigners. He blames them for inciting the Koreans to imitate them and implies that they are quasi-racists who would not have committed their crimes if they didn’t “look down on Korea”. You can see some photos of them over at the East Wind-up Chronicle.
Update: The EWC posted about a Korean fan who got himself punched in the head for running on the field.
I want to ask them. I want to know if they can do that in America, too. America’s a democracy, so they have pretty strong rights in public. They have the unwritten rule, “don’t antagonize the police”. With the high possibility of a heavy punishment, ordinary US citizens avoid committing any breaches of public order in baseball stadiums and other public places. They know that a severe punishment from the police would follow.
In major league baseball stadiums the ones showing off their power are the security guards and police. They protect the safety and public order of the stadium. Normally they are kind to the fans and ensure order, and if some problem arises in the stadium they go to it and direct the traffic. Spectators who cause trouble are taken from their seats and strictly punished.
Because of this there are few instances of spectators rushing onto major league grass. Though it sometimes happens, when it does the offender is strictly punished. First of all, a physical punishment cannot be ruled out, and second there can be a fine or jail time. Because of this few spectators in MLB parks trespass on the field or create disturbances in their seats.
But recently in Korean baseball stadiums, with foreign spectators increasing in number, there have been a rash of trespasses onto the field. Drunken young foreign spectators rush onto the field with the game in progress, proudly creating a spectacle. The security guards restrain them and escort them out, but there are no reports of them being legally punished.
There are various ill effects from the trespasses of these baseball fans, who seem to be mostly American. They could even lay the foundations for racial dispute. Baseball fans and authorities in many places think, “isn’t the problem that they look down on Korea?”
Also, there are linked actions to some of the Korean fans who were quiet during the trespasses of the foreign spectators. In the early days of professional baseball drunken fans often ran onto the field. But now that going to the ballgame is a family affair, foul behavior from spectators has largely disappeared. Even so, this year, with baseball fever running high, foreign spectators have begun to run onto the field and Korean fans are even supporting them.
On April 19th at the Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul, during a game between Doosan and SK, one drunken foreign man ran onto the field, and was apprehended by a guard while making himself at home between the bases. During a game on the 10th at Daejeon Baseball Stadium, a foreign man was apprehended after running onto the field and sliding into home plate.
Starting with foreigners running onto the field, now Korean fans are doing it too. On the 11th, with the second-highest crowds in the history of the KBO packed into stadiums in Jamsil (Doosan–Lotte) and Daegu (Hanwha–LG), spectators ran onto the field at the same time. Then on April 29th, at Sajik Stadium, in a game between Lotte and LG, two dead-drunk fans jumped over the outfield fence and onto the field. One of them hurt his leg and was carried off on a stretcher.
There must be strong policies put in place against foreign spectators who run onto the field, agitating not only Korean spectators but also families who’ve gone to watch the game. Active, fair, strong policies are needed such as creating a blacklist that would bar them from entry to baseball stadiums. There is no way that these one-time happenings should ruin things for the athletes and the children — the future fans of baseball.
In recent years many more foreign fans have been coming out to baseball stadiums across the country on the weekend. Not a few of them have been the kind of person to get drunk and run onto the field and act like idiots, shouting at the top of their lungs. With strong punishments in place the baseball park can be a safe and fun place for families on the weekend.
The Korean Baseball Organization, its 8 member teams and the police should quickly put policies in place.
The Chosun Ilbo has a gallery of the home-base slider here, and you can watch the relevant clip from the original broadcast on Daum TV Pot. (If that video doesn’t work for you, try this one or this one.) Sports World recently ran an editorial on the same topic, with similar conclusions, illustrated with one of the Korean offenders.