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Banned from South Korea, Orioles Look to the North

“North Korean baseball players are the new market inefficiency.” — Dan Duquette

It took a while – sources were exhausted, as they say – but the NotGraphs Investigative Reporting Investigation Team has delivered, for your reading pleasure, an exclusive interview with Baltimore Orioles general manager Dan Duquette, about the international incident that was the signing of 17-year-old Kim Seong-min.

NotGraphs: Mr. Duquette, thanks for your time, and for taking our call. We appreciate it.

Dan Duquette: Who is this? How did you get this number?

NG: Let’s get right down to business: Kim Seong-min. Today, Baltimore Orioles scouts are banned from South Korea. What the hell, man?

DD: Look, it began innocently enough. All I asked for was Korean food for lunch. Some Bulgogi. I love Bulgogi.

NG: Me too. It’s delicious.

DD: I thought it would be good for morale, a company lunch, for the front office. You know, a big spread, we all sit down and break bread together. I passed the information down the ladder, and one of our interns was put in charge. The next thing I know, we’re eating Thai food for lunch, we’ve got a 17-year-old signed out of South Korea, and both the Korean Baseball Organization and the Korean Baseball Association are up my ass. Not to mention Bud Selig. Trust me, we had no intentions for this to blow up the way it did.

NG: It all sounds rather unfortunate. What did you think of the “off limits to scouts from Baltimore Orioles sign”?

DD: What sign?

NG: Nevermind. I hear you’re still going to try to sign Seong-min?

DD: Yep. The poor kid’s been banned from playing baseball in South Korea, so it’s the least we can do for him. And he makes a mean Bulgogi. We’re the Orioles, we’ll find a spot for him.

NG: I love that attitude, Mr. Duquette. When one door closes, another one opens.

DD: That’s actually not the case with the Orioles, as I’m quickly learning. When one door slams shut, another few, like, five or six, close along with it. But we’re moving forward. We have to.

NG: That brings me to my next point. Now that Orioles have been banned from South Korea, I hear you’re sending scouts to North Korea. Is that true?

DD: Indeed it is, son. North Korean baseball players are the new market inefficiency. Just don’t tell anyone I told you that.

NG: Your secret’s safe with me, sir.

DD: What does FanGraphs know about North Korean baseball?

NG: What do we know? Not much. I’ve heard Kim Jong-un is a Yankees fan. Which doesn’t really surprise me. What a prick.

DD: I was hoping you guys might know some stuff. What about Cameron? Cistulli?

NG: I don’t know, Mr. Duquette. I guess I could ask them.

DD: That would be great.

NG: What are your scouts saying?

DD: I actually haven’t heard from them, since they crossed over into North Korean territory.

NG: Well, that’s not good.

DD: No, it really isn’t.

NG: Uh, I’m sure they’re fine.

DD: I really hope so. I’m sure they are, too. I really appreciate their hard work. We’re going where no other ball club has gone before. The possibilities are limitless, you know. There could be an entire professional North Korean baseball league up there that no one even knows about. And we, the Orioles, we’re going to find out. And we’re going to reap the benefits. By the time we’re done with North Korea, only Baltimore scouts will be allowed in the country. Everyone else will be banned. This is the new Baltimore Orioles way.

NG: Godspeed, Mr. Duquette. Thanks for your time today.

DD: No, thank you. Tell the world our story.

NG: Will do. Cheers.

Image credit: The Associated Press’s Patrick Semansky, stolen shamelessly from Grantland.