For all of the young players watching the World Baseball Classic, please make sure you take time before you celebrate.
Korean infielder Baek-ho Kang gave a crash course in the importance of doing so in Korea’s first game of the World Baseball Classic. Trailing Australia 5-4 in the seventh inning, Kang hit a double with one out. As Kang turned to his dugout to celebrate, however, a seemingly innocuous tag was applied to his back by Australia’s Robbie Glendinning.
After the play, Glendinning appealed. As it turned out, Kang had pulled his foot off the bag while celebrating, and he was ruled out for the second out of the inning.
The Butterfly Effect dictates that if Kang had been safe, the events that followed wouldn’t have been exactly the same. But that likely didn’t make it hurt any less when Eui-ji Yang singled two pitches later.
WOW. Baekho Kang comes off the bag while celebrating and is ruled out 🤯
📺: FS1 and the FOX Sports App pic.twitter.com/yMng10cysK
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) March 9, 2023
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Australia would go on to win 8-7, completing the first major upset of the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
“I know that previously I’ve tagged guys when they have come off the base, so I knew in that situation he might not have been thinking,” Glendinning said after the game, per MLB.com. “When I put the tag on, I knew for a fact that he came off the base. I think the replay might have shown it pretty clear. But, yeah, I was pretty adamant towards the dugout that I got him.”
Australian manager Dave Nilsson affirmed the heads-up play.
“First of all, I didn’t see it,” Nilsson said, per MLB.com. “(Glendinning) was the one responsible for the whole play … He did it all on his own. It was a big turning point in the game, and he let the dugout know what had happened, so that’s just a great moment by a great player.”
Korea will have plenty of time to make up ground, but Pool B is going to be tough to get out of. Starting 0-1 is an inauspicious start for a team with high ambitions. Having a play like this occur only darkens the storm clouds.