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nly an Arizona Diamondbacks rally in the 9th inning of Game 7 spared Byung-Hyun Kim the ignominy of being labeled the first Asian pitcher ever to cost his team the World Series. It was a nightmare season finish for a 22-year-old prodigy who had begun his major league career so brilliantly less than two years earlier. kim
     In college Kim was Number 1 on the Corean National team, even ahead of Chanho Park, four years his senior. Signed by the Diamondbacks in the spring of 1999, Kim outperformed for two farm teams before being called up in May 2000 to pitch relief. A rising fastball served up via an unnerving, nearly underarm motion quickly earned him the rap of being tough to hit. He racked up 111 kills in 70.2 innings while giving up only 52 runs. And he was all of 21.
     By mid-2000 there was even talk of a slot on the All-Star team. The talk stopped in July when he was sent down to Tucson. Kim returned two weeks later to show enough improvement to become the top contender for the closer job. By season's end he made it known to a skeptical Bob Brenly that he was ready to start.
     The 2001 season magnified Kim's promise and problems. His 93-mph underarm fastball could retire batters like clockwork -- except when he threw too many balls, took too long to unload pitches, didn't challenge the batters enough. After a rocky spring and an impressive summer Kim hit the skids in September by giving up a series of crucial homers. Brenly kept the faith into the World Series -- with nearly disastrous consequences.
     For some Byung-Hyun Kim brings to mind Japanese import Hideo Nomo.
     When he joined the Dodgers's starting rotation in 1995, Nomo's killer corkscrew delivery gave the world Nomomania. In 1996 he blessed Coors Field with its first-ever no-hitter. But Nomonania gave way to No-More-Mania. His 2.54 1995 ERA slipped to 3.19 in 1996, 4.25 in 1997 and an abysmal 5.05 in 1998 before he was traded to the Mets midseason.
     That was when Hideo Nomo's career entered the twilight zone of fallen superstars.
     Released by the Mets during spring training, Nomo sank to a Cubs AAA team, then even lower to a stint with the Brewers's AA Hunstsville before being salvaged by Phil Garner for the desperate Brewers. Nomo pulled off a 4.54 ERA and a 12-8 record. Garner was impressed enough to move the fallen star with him to the Detroit Tigers. Nomo's ERA slipped again to 4.74 and he found himself in Boston where he ended 2001 with a modest 4.50 ERA. But lately Nomo has begun showing flashes of his Dodgers days. In his first Red Sox start on April 3, Nomo set a record for the earliest no-hitter and became only the fourth man ever to pitch no-hitters for both leagues.
     Hideo Nomo's decline is said to have begun in July 1997 when his pitching elbow was hit by a line drive. Now that the arm has mended, he's on the comeback trail. Whatever the reason for Nomo's meteoric rise and fall, they do invite parallels to Byung-Hyun Kim's -- a great talent eclipsed by a tragic event. In Kim's case, that tragic event might be the 4th and 5th games of the World Series.
     Will Byung-Hyun Kim's career follow the pattern of Hideo Nomo's? Or will Kim shake off his World Series embarrassments and resume his rise?

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(Updated Tuesday, Apr 1, 2008, 06:00:24 PM)

All the skeptics should give Kim a couple more years.
Don't give up too early on him, especially since he's only 23 years old.
How do you think today's pitching superstars play it so cool? EXPERIENCE.

He'll be very solid, if not dominant, after a bunch of seasons.

And don't even bring the RACE issue up.

So eat your words.
   Monday, October 14, 2002 at 13:37:09 (PDT)    []
kim is weak. he has no heart. whenever the pressure is tight, he chokes. he should go back to korea because he;s not ready for the big leagues. no gm would ever let him play in a world series again.
kim is a LOSER
   Thursday, September 19, 2002 at 11:51:17 (PDT)    []
He did it again!

Come on! Everyone blows a save sometimes. No one is perfect. Just look at the games he saved. You do not acknowledge the things he did but only acknowledge his mistakes. Some pitchers can't even close 8 games.

Kim is a young kid. I'd like to see you do any better. You frankly do not know how hard it is to pitch. It is not only stressing to your arm, but very stressing to your mind.

Give Kim a break!
Kim is still good!
   Monday, September 16, 2002 at 09:30:18 (PDT)    []
kim blew a save to the giants.

typical. expected. not surprising one bit.

losers know how to lose. and kim sure knows losing.
he did it again!
   Sunday, September 08, 2002 at 15:37:00 (PDT)
Nomo is doing exceptionally good now (13-6), while Ishii (13-9) and Park (5-6) are not.

I don't know how Kim is doing now for the D'backs.

Maybe this topic should be reworded a little bit?
compare to Mitch Williams instead
   Wednesday, August 28, 2002 at 00:24:54 (PDT)
Mannnnnnn you guys should stop criticizing kim byung hyun... i mean id like to see you do any better at the world series.
i mean really you guys all probably are couch potatoes watching baseball games and criticizing other like to see you pitch a ball over 70 mph in submarine style.
so just give up and stop trying to make kim look like he sucks b/c he dosent.
   Sunday, August 25, 2002 at 21:35:52 (PDT)
Kim wasn't experienced in moments like the world series. He was just still a kid learning how to pitch under the biggest amount of pressure of his life.
He might have been thinking of how many people might be watching instead of concentrating in the game, which is true for most young athletes also.
It is, however, not easy to ignore the fact that he has improved tremendously under the supervision of the D' Backs pitching coach, which leads you to conclude how willing he is to learn. Give him a break. He's still a kid with alot to learn.

Comparing him to Nomo is not fair; Nomo is a veteran with alot more experience than Kim and Kim is still learning to get better and better. He has the heart.

It is not easy being the center of attention. You have to deliver. You'll know when so much is expected of you when millions of people are watching you worldwide.
   Saturday, August 24, 2002 at 12:05:44 (PDT)
That world series will surely haunt Kim's career forever. People will always doubt korean pitchers because of that. But it's okay. People still respect Japanese pitchers. Thanks to NOMO
Shame for one asian. proud for another
   Friday, August 23, 2002 at 14:48:30 (PDT)
Under pressure, Kim cracks. He almost blew the world series away.
He aint Nomo
   Wednesday, August 21, 2002 at 17:11:24 (PDT)
Kim = almost cost diamondbacks the world series!!!!!!

I'm Asian, and I think he has skills, but he's got no heart. I didn't want the yankees to win, and when kim blew it, I was really pissed and annoyed. Asians are supposed to keep it cool and not screw up in those moments. He failed and let the asian community down at that moment. good thing diamondbacks ended up winning though.
   Sunday, August 18, 2002 at 11:53:06 (PDT)
unlike nomo, kim is only getting better... his numbers don't lie - he's becoming more effective as the seasons go on... his biggest problem seems to be inconsistency where for stretches of several games, he looks hittable but when he gets in a groove, no one can touch him... he's a treat to watch and an outstanding pitcher and phenomenal talent, and a rising star to be sure... as for hideo nomo, don't count him out just yet... he's been very effective at times over the past couple of seasons and especially this season in his return to the dodgers... he's an innings eater and quite durable and a lot of fun to watch as well...
   Saturday, August 10, 2002 at 16:11:22 (PDT)
By all means, the Diamondbacks need Kim more than people think; he is their best closer. I see alot of their games and always found them in trouble whenever he is not there.
   Monday, July 29, 2002 at 08:19:55 (PDT)
Byung-yun-kim is an excellent pitcher who most likely could be a starter in some teams. He has a good delivery and skill. For the two years he's played in the majors, he has shown remarkable improvements. I wish him luck and hope that he could be better than Nomo.
   Sunday, July 21, 2002 at 13:15:14 (PDT)
Kim Rules! hideo..who?
   Tuesday, July 16, 2002 at 05:46:02 (PDT)
BYK is awsome he is one of the top closers
Burge King
   Thursday, June 13, 2002 at 18:13:52 (PDT)
What a stupid comparison. Nomo was a top veteran ace in Japan before coming to U.S. Kim has just started a pro career in U.S. Nomo is a veteran starter. Kim is a reliever and became a closer by default only because closer Matt Mantei got injured. Apples. Oranges. They are fruits, but can't compare them.
   Tuesday, May 28, 2002 at 11:21:02 (PDT)
Let's face it - baseball is a game of chances. In the world of football and basketball, a good team can almost always beat a bad team, whereas a good baseball team is lucky to win 7 out of 10 in the same situation. That's just the nature of baseball - both pitchers and batters are guessing all the time what their opponents are going to do next. That said, it's just unfair to single out a particular player for his team's loss because he's just being unlucky.
   Friday, May 03, 2002 at 19:37:51 (PDT)