Four outs in a game sparked controversy over 41 referees in a controversy over 41 referees
Amid controversy over the strike decision as the KBO League expanded its strike zone this year, referees’ authoritative attitude is also being criticized in Japan.
Japanese media Daily Shincho said, “As Sasaki Loki (Chiba Lotte) expressed regret over the decision, the behavior of referee Kazuyuki Shirai, who rushed to the young battery, became a hot issue, with senior baseball players and active players all voicing criticism and the Players Association submitting a questionnaire to the NPB Secretariat. Referee problems are occurring not only in professional baseball but also in high school baseball,” he said, introducing the absurd game that came out of high school baseball four years ago.
In the 5th round of the West Tokyo Games in the summer of 2018, Tsurugaoka High School and Nakano Hachioji High School, as many as 41 four walks were poured out. The media said, “The game has become a mess because of the referee. As the referee abnormally narrowed the strike zone, the number of balls became ridiculous. The NPB veteran scout who watched the game said it was ridiculous. Considering that both teams are strong players who frequently advance to the top ranks at competitions in Tokyo, it is clear that the strike zone was not normal,” he explained.
“When I went to another prefecture’s high school to practice, our catcher asked me about the strike and ball decision,” said Daily Cinco, who asked not to be named. It was not a protest against the decision, but a question for confirmation. However, the referee testified that the high school baseball referee’s ridiculous decision, saying, “Maybe he didn’t like the question, but the outside ball didn’t get a strike at all.”
“After the game, the referee said, ‘This is what happens because it goes against me. If you defy my will, a strike becomes a ball,’ he said. It happened a few years ago, but I remember it clearly because it was so shocking. Again, our catcher did not complain about the ball decision, but only asked questions to check the strike zone. If we do this, we can’t communicate,” he said.
“What’s important is communication,” said Daily Shincho, who stressed, “In this year’s Senbatsu (Japanese High School Baseball Selection Competition) Koryo High School and Tsurugakehiko High School, there were scenes where the referee admitted to the wrong judgment and there were many compliments. Wouldn’t this flexible attitude become more important in the future? The whole baseball world needs to think about it,” he said, expecting a change from the referees