“Why?!”…Yang Sang-moon blasts Italian referee for unnecessary nitpicking

 “Why?! Why!!”

Head coach Yang Sang-moon of the Korean women’s baseball team exploded at the head referee’s actions that he couldn’t understand at all.

The national team participated in the 2024 Women’s Baseball World Cup (WBSC) preliminary round held in Thunder Bay, Canada on the 11th (Korean time) and played against Australia.

Referee Elcia Cicconi from Italy served as the referee. However, the Chiconi umpire continued the game even though there was time left during the pitcher change without prior notice or consultation.

At the end of the second inning, the national team changed pitcher from Choi Song-hee to Lee Ji-sook. Due to the structure of the stadium, a pitcher in the bullpen pitching field had to walk around the field for a long time to get to the mound. However, Chiconi referee did not take this into consideration and let Lee Ji-suk, who came up late to the mound, practice pitching only two pitches, and then proceeded with the game.

Then, coach Yang Sang-moon of the national team jumped out of the dugout and protested strongly, but Chiconi referee refused to give her additional practice pitching time, saying that the walking time was included.

Shortly thereafter, the Chiconi referee took issue with Lee Ji-suk’s ‘habit’ of smearing the rosin on and then bringing her hand to her mouth and blowing ‘Whoops’ to shake off the rosin. Chiconi referee strongly warned Lee Ji-suk, saying, “It is an act that smears her spittle.” Previously, referee Chiconi also warned starter Choi Song-hee that day, “Don’t blow rosin with her hands.”

Then, at the dugout, the national team coaches instructed Lee Ji-sook, “Do not blow with her hands together, spread them out and blow her to show that she is not intentionally smearing her saliva.” In baseball, saliva is a foreign substance. It is a foul to throw a ball with a foreign object on it.

To show that she had no intention of smearing her, Ji-suk Lee spread her palm wide and brushed the rosin powder off her face in front of the referee, but the referee Chiconi suddenly gave a penalty to Ji-suk Lee in a high-pitched voice.

But even this penalty was absurd. Chiconi umpire moved McCline from 1st base to 2nd base in the situation of 2nd, 1st and 3rd base. This is a measure that is not in the penalty rule.

In the end, director Yang Sang-moon exploded. Coach Yang came to the ground again and argued with the referee while repeating “Why”, which means “why” in English.

If the pitcher does not obey the referee’s warning, he is supposed to be awarded a ball count. However, the referee ordered the move of the runner instead of the ball count. When the national team protested strongly, Australian officials also shrugged their shoulders about the move to second base and showed expressions of incomprehension.

Eventually, after a lengthy battle of words, the referee Chiconi corrected his judgment and took action to grant a ball count. However, Lee Ji-suk did not waver and caught Ainon with a ground ball in front of the pitcher in the crisis of 2nd, 1st and 3rd bases and finished the inning without any additional runs.

The reason why the Chiconi referee’s warning was seen as a ‘useless quibble’ is that the national team has never been cautioned for such behavior in international competitions. However, referee Chiconi continued to take issue with the habits of the national team’s pitchers.

Chiconi referee’s ‘barrage’ did not end. This time, he pointed out the glove color of Kim Na-yeon, who started as a relief following Lee Ji-sook. The reason was that Kim Na-yeon’s glove was white. However, Kim Na-yeon played 2.1 innings with this glove against the United States the day before. There was no problem the day before, but the referee Chiconi ordered a glove change. In the end, Kim Na-yeon took pitcher Choi Song-hee’s black glove and went back to the mound and threw the ball.메이저놀이터

The national team lost to Australia 3-10 that day. It was a losing game with 6 defensive mistakes, but it was also an environment where it was difficult to concentrate on the game properly due to the referee constantly catching fault with Korea. It was a disappointing game against Australia in many ways. 

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