Go to contents

MLB pays attention to KBO season opening

Posted May. 04, 2020 07:51,   

Updated May. 04, 2020 07:51


“The saddest day of the year is the day baseball season ends,” said former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda. In other words, the happiest day of the year would be the day baseball season starts. The day when baseball fans have been anticipating is coming. The Korea Baseball Organization is scheduled to open its 2020 season on Tuesday. The opening scheduled on March 28 has been delayed for 38 days because of the COVID-19 outbreak. At least baseball matches will be held, even though audiences are not allowed into the stadium for a while.

It is not only Korean fans who are anticipating for watching baseball games. The U.S. Major League Baseball (MLB), the birthplace of baseball, is giving an eye to the KBO league. This year’s MLB season is also suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The KBO league, which begins after weathering one of the worst crises in history, could be an excellent example.

Yahoo! Sports published an article titled “MLB will be watching as KBO tries to bring back baseball amid coronavirus recovery” on Saturday (local time). “The day has not yet come for baseball in America. There will, however, be baseball in South Korea. On Tuesday, the 10-team Korea Baseball Organization is scheduled to open with five games in five stadiums,” MLB columnist Tim Brown wrote. “In terms of curve flattening and people testing, South Korea is at least weeks and more likely months ahead of the United States, according to many analysts.”

According to the article, MLB is learning from KBO through two employees based in Seoul. “Between the Seoul presence and its central offices, MLB will monitor the league and be in regular contact with KBO officials, curious as to how a nation straps a baseball season to the fumes of a pandemic,” the article said. “Along with the particulars of virus prevention and protection, including travel, media, staffing, security and stadium operations, MLB has an interest in how the KBO presents itself on television.” Yahoo! Sports also introduced detailed guidelines such as making players and staff enter and exit facilities through one door and banning spitting or high-fives.

Practice games between teams held last month drew great attention from overseas media while some journalists even visited the site. MLB teams are benchmarking KBO teams and receiving reports from their employees based in Korea.

“MLB will be watching, learning, leaning in, watching the games, attending the games, strategizing on its own, waiting some more, and then hoping its optimism is founded,” reported Yahoo! Sports. The KBO league is garnering attention of baseball teams from across the world. It should pay special attention to the end so that it could become a success case.

Hong-Gu Kang windup@donga.com