The spring of baseball has finally come after a fight against COVID-19. The 2020 KBO League started in five stadiums including the Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Tuesday, Children’s Day, while the government has eased social distancing starting on Wednesday. Korea’s baseball games were delayed for 38 days from the original starting date, March 28, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Baseball stadiums are usually the most crowded on Children’s Day, but all games were played on Tuesday without audience to prevent the virus from spreading.
Even though there was no audience, the games garnered much attention not only from Korea, but also from overseas. The largest American sports channel ESPN broadcast the match between NC Dinos and Samsung Lions held in Daegu in real-time across the U.S. Due to rain, the match started 30 minutes late at 2:33 p.m. Daegu, the city that took the greatest hit from the virus, has become a stage to introduce Korean baseball to the world.
Daegu Medical Association President Lee Seong-gu threw the first ball at the game. Samsung invited him for the throw to praise healthcare workers and frontline responders for their efforts to contain the virus. Players of Samsung sent him a hand signal meaning “I admire you” after he threw the ball. “I accepted the invitation in the hopes that citizens would feel assured to see a doctor who fought the virus on the forefront throw a ball,” said Lee.
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