Hanwha, which was planning to actively reinforce its power to escape the bottom, issued a bitter press release on November 20 last year. Ha Joo-seok (29), the team’s main shortstop and captain, admitted that he was caught drinking.
Ha Joo-seok was caught drinking alcohol somewhere in Daejeon around 5:50 am on November 19th. His blood alcohol level was 0.078%, 안전놀이터 which was the level of license suspension. If this figure was slightly higher and exceeded 0.08%, it could have led to license cancellation, which could have resulted in stronger punishment from the KBO.
According to KBO rules, Joo-Seok Ha was suspended for 70 games. Following the confirmation of the KBO’s disciplinary action, on the 13th, the prosecution’s summary indictment of fines for drunk driving under the Road Traffic Act seems to be ending the legal punishment.
The KBO Executive Committee was in a situation where they agreed not to impose additional club self-discipline instead of strengthening the KBO’s discipline. This is because the level of punishment for each club was so different that there was not a little confusion. It was also necessary to clarify the subject. As a result, Joo-seok Ha did not receive any additional disciplinary action. Angry with a sense of betrayal, the ‘fan heart’ brought out extreme demands such as release, but the club carried Ha Joo-seok with them. It is an observation that it would have been a burden to leave as it is when looking at the proportion of the team.
However, it was by no means that he embraced Ha Joo-seok from the inside. It is rumored that it was rather the opposite. In particular, it is known that a very strong tone came out immediately after drunk driving. It is true that inside Hanwha, which recruited Chae Eun-seong as a free agent, there was intense discussion about whether Ha Joo-seok should be included as a protected player. That in itself symbolizes that Ha Joo-seok’s position is not as good as before, and that the club’s disappointment was quite great.
It is unclear whether Ha Joo-seok, who was suspended for 70 games, will be able to return within 2023. Basically, it is impossible to maintain a sense of actual combat because you cannot participate in the game. It seems possible to return in the second half at the earliest, but the disappointment of the club has not been fully recovered. Hanwha officials are extremely refraining from talking about Ha Joo-seok. There are observations that this atmosphere itself may lead to a practical disciplinary effect even if there is no official disciplinary action.
Ha Joo-seok had many cases of disappointing fans last year, including a helmet throwing incident and drunk driving. Of course, the eyes of the fans watching Ha Joo-seok are bound to be cold. Losing 70 games, delaying free agent qualifications, and cutting salaries are more frightening than loss of trust. Attention is focusing on when Ha Joo-seok will be given a chance to make up for this.