The moment he received the award was KBO President Heo Gu-yeon. However, his words were filled with the worries and sincerity of a baseball player who loves professional baseball before the governor.
Since its inception in 1982, there have been 16 KBO presidents.
They were either politicians or officials of the then president or his administration, or businessmen involved in the league. Here’s a look at the list of previous presidents.
Professional baseball has been closely tied to politics since its inception. From stadium construction to the coronavirus pandemic, the KBO or its teams have always wanted a hotline to key government departments or the financial muscle to drive the organization forward.굿모닝토토
Heo has the distinction of being the first “non-professional” governor in history. He played professional baseball for the Korea Development Bank and coached for the Cheongbo Pintos and Lotte Giants. He is a “real” baseball man who has been involved in the game for more than 40 years, serving as a commentator since the beginning.
He has also been an opinion leader in the baseball world, jokingly nicknamed “Huffra,” who has been trying to develop the game by building infrastructure such as dome stadiums. He is also one of the busiest governors in history.
When he was awarded the Meritorious Service Award at the Baseball World Series, he said he was “surprised.” Recognizing that the award was actually given to the KBO organization, not the individual governor, he said, “My staff worked really hard. I myself have a very heavy responsibility,” he emphasized.
He emphasized the need for the cooperation of member companies and the response of fans, and listed the tasks that need to be overcome. ABS (Automatic Ball Judgment System, a.k.a. AI umpires), Pitch Clock, eliminating club deficits, and South Korea’s declining population.
That desperation was no different than before he became the KBO commissioner. The KBO governor is just a tool and a force to fulfill his dreams.
Korea will be the first country in the world to introduce ABS to its first team leagues, as the major leagues are still hesitant to do so. “Right now, there are a lot of complaints from players, clubs, referees, and fans. “There is so much pressure that some referees are saying, ‘I can’t do it because it’s too hard,'” he said.
“There may be some initial problems. I won’t be 100% satisfied, but I’ll do my best. Let’s all understand and work together to achieve the (ultimate) goal.”
As for his dream world, he envisioned “a professional baseball team with no deficit, and a sports industry that stands tall by removing obstacles.” “The number of newborns is decreasing rapidly, and I’m worried that professional baseball will be able to maintain itself in 20 or 30 years. How can we evolve it?” he added.
At one point, even ‘Huffra’ was frustrated. “To be honest, there were times when I gave up on building new stadiums in Daejeon, Gwangju, and Daegu, but new ballparks were built in Daegu and Gwangju.