The premature bat flip is officially an epidemic in the Korea Baseball Organization. Thanks to our man Dan over at MyKBO.net, we've been able to document this widespread problem throughout the season, and it appears there's no end to it in sight.
The latest Korean slugger to join that non-elite list is Lee Taek-keun of the Nexen Heroes. During his game against the Samsung Lions on Saturday, Lee was absolutely certain he'd just hit a tiebreaking home run — in the third inning. It looked and sounded good when it came off the bat, so it had to feel pretty good too. At least good enough to prompt a bat flip, but unfortunately the baseball died right in front of the wall for a loud but harmless third out.
Cue the sad trombone and make room in the KBO Hall of Shame for Lee Taek-keun. Right now it's a three-man group, or at least that's how many we can confirm.
First came Jun-Woo Jeon, who in May bat flipped and pointed to the dugout celebrating a game-tying home run for the Lotte Giants that never happened. The ball was caught at the warning track, and Jeon's stunned reaction was priceless. Then there was Lee Ho-jun of the NC Dinos, who on the same field as Jeon let the bat go in dramatic fashion, and then watched as the outfielder robbed him of extra bases. Maybe he was excited about that potential double?
It's an embarrassing moment. You'd like to think it might be a little bit humbling, too, when a bat flip celebration backfires. But it's still happening in Korea, and everywhere for that matter. It just seems to be a little more dramatic there, perhaps due to the energetic calls that so few of us can actually understand or fully appreciate.