Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bass 'fishing'

Having played sports in high school (where we didn't have much to celebrate) and in the Army (where we did), I can understand the joy of wanting to celebrate any kind of victory. In the states, we tend to do the dogpile, and as much fun as winning is, being at the bottom of it isn't. In Japan and South Korea, tossing seems to be the cultural equivalent of 15 guys jumping on top of you and trying to bury you somewhere near the pitcher's mound.

But as with any good thing, there is always something bad that can happen:
At the Kyoraku Cup in Okinawa, Japan, last week, Korean women golfers went from heaven to hell in an instant.

They were reveling over winning the Korea-Japan team tournament for the first time in three years, 29-19. While tossing team captain Lee Ji-hee into the air in celebration, players saw the smiles on their faces abruptly disappear.

Lee’s waist hit the edge of the winners’ steel rostrum. Shocked, she began showing symptoms of vomiting and was rushed to a hospital.

To the players’ relief, a medical exam showed that she sustained a simple bruise. The players, however, pledged never to toss anyone after a victory again.

And never let it be said that the media misses any kind of scoop:

The incident also made headlines in Japanese media.
However, lest you think that there will be an uproar over the tradition, I don't think so:

Getting tossed into the air after a victory is the dream of every Korean or Japanese athlete and coach. Those who have been tossed say the feeling is indescribable until experienced.

Kim Kyung-moon, who led the Korean national baseball team to the Olympic gold medal in Beijing last year, was tossed after his squad won the championship game. “I’d still be happy if I fell to the ground and died,” he said.

Shin Chee-yong, whose pro volleyball team Samsung Fire and Marine Insurance won its 10th championship this season, also said, “You simply cannot be happier.”
So I think tossing is here to stay in the two countries. I can't see some 'legislating' it out of practice. It's just too common. The article goes on to talk about the psychological effects of tossing, how it is spreading around the world, and just general information about the event itself.

There is one practice, however, that is a fairly decent innovation, as using the real thing could lead to serious injury:

When the Japanese pro baseball team Hanshin Tigers won the Central League championship in 1985, excited fans tossed a Kentucky Fried Chicken mannequin resembling Randy Bass, who won the league’s batting Triple Crown, into a river.
Which is good. Trying to toss the real Randy Bass into a river. Bad


Kevin said...


Welcome back.
I am a former manager of Kentucky Fried Chicken....18 years...and glad to be out of it.
I may be combining 2 different stories, but I thought the Japanese threw a Colonel Sanders replica into the river, because I recall that they just recently fished it out of the river.

Anyway, glad to see your posting again.


Ron Rollins said...


Thanks. I'm hoping I have time to stick with it. I was starting to miss it.

I remember the Col Sanders thing, and it was fairly recently. I think the thing with Bass happened back in '87 or so.

It seems as if a pattern has emerged.