League keeps tie-as-loss system

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League keeps tie-as-loss system

The Korea Baseball Organization will keep its existing record-keeping system, which includes ties. KBO officials and the directors of eight KBO clubs held a general meeting at the league head office in Dogok-dong, southern Seoul yesterday morning to discuss the controversial system, which ends games tied after 12 innings, counting them as losses for both teams.

“The current system limits the possibilities of tied games. Considering the system has been in place for merely a year, we decided to retain it,” a league statement explained.

Since the start of last season, teams have received zero points for ties. The topic was at the center of the league general meeting held in December, when the LG Twins, the SK Wyverns, the Hanwha Eagles and the Kia Tigers asked the league to scrap the existing system while the Samsung Lions, the Lotte Giants and the Seoul Heroes reportedly favored keeping it.

In contrast to the widely divergent opinions at the general meeting in December, however, league officials secured a unanimous vote in favor of the system yesterday.

“We were expecting a tense meeting with differing opinions, but surprisingly all eight directors voted in favor of the existing system. The consensus at the meeting was that although the current system is not the best, it is the next best thing,” said KBO Secretary General Lee Sang-il.

Last season, the Kia Tigers won the pennant race with 81 wins, 4 ties and 48 losses, while runner-up SK Wyverns finished the season with 80 wins, 6 ties and 47 losses. Under the current system, which counts ties as losses in calculating winning percentages, SK placed second. If the previous system used in 2007 had been in place, ties would have been excluded from the total number of games played and SK would have placed first.

The KBO has tried several methods to deal with close games that stretch into extra innings. Until 2007, the league excluded tied games from the number of total games played for the purposes of win percentages - as though the games had never even taken place.

In 2008, the KBO borrowed a page from the Major League Baseball rule book and experimented with allowing an unlimited number of extra innings until a winner could emerge. But teams complained of player fatigue resulting from the long games, and some fans reportedly grew weary.

In 2009, the current system, which records games tied at the end of 12 innings as ties, was adopted. The new system did not award any points for ties, virtually counting the ties as losses.

The KBO yesterday also lifted a limit on pay increases for free agents. In the past, free agents joining a new club could extract a maximum 50 percent raise, but from now on they will be able to sign lucrative contracts without any limitations.

Other decisions changed the number of coaches who can sit in the dugout during a game from six to eight, and the number of physical trainers allowed on the bench from one to two. The KBO also asked each club to cooperate with the league’s new “speed up” policy to cut down the length of games.

By Jason Kim [jason@joongang.co.kr]
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