For a pitcher the art of the holding a runner is a delicacy. Your goal is too keep a runner as close to a base as possible, without it messing up your concentration and delivery to the plate. A pickoff to second is whole other animal, you need to pivot 180 degrees and make an accurate throw, hoping your teammate will be moving into a position to cover the base. If anything goes wrong, you look like an idiot and the baserunner advances getting 90 feet closer to scoring.

In Korea, things might get even worse and you can end up with 120 hours of community service. Lim Chang-yong of the Korean Baseball Organization’s KIA Tigers has been handed that penalty and three game suspension after his reckless pickoff attempt of Oh Jae-won.

Chang-yong took his time, had a clear view of the runner and with no fielder attempting to cover the bag, appears to have thrown deliberately at the runner. I’m not suggesting he was trying to hurt him, but he wanted to scare/startle him. Oh responded with relief and a death stare as he processed what happened.

Hopefully this sends a clear message to everyone in baseball that throwing at baserunners is an awful idea. At the same time, the runner didn’t advance and considering it was a pick off attempt without anyone covering the base, it wasn’t the worst result. And no one got hurt. This to me isn’t nearly as terrible as pitchers blatantly throwing fastballs at people’s rib cages because a batters teammate didn’t run around the bases quickly enough.

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