It’s been an interesting 24-hours for Lotte Giants pitcher, Shane Youman. The 33-year-old starting pitcher from New Iberia, Louisiana unsuspectedly was at the center of controversy yesterday, when Hanwha Eagles’ slugger Kim Tae-kyun was asked during an appearance on an Internet baseball radio broadcast about difficulties batting with the Giants’ ace on the mound.
The star Korean slugger replied:
“The Lotte Giants’ Youman is the most difficult player to play against. His face is too black, so it is hard to bat because his white teeth and the ball confuses me when he smiles on the mound. So, I suffered a lot."
He then went on to add, “There’s no particularly difficult pitcher, but when I play against Youman, I screw up because of his white teeth.”
An eruption of negative comments ensued on Korean baseball forums as Korean netizens charged Kyun with making racist statements. The outpouring from fans caused both Kim and the Eagles to immediately issue personal apologies to Youman.
In an exclusive e-mail interview with Haps, Youman gives his take on the comments, the controversy and to baseball life for an African-American journeyman in Korea.