“Your attention please: We have decided which KBO team we are supporting.” This was the message posted on the official Twitter account for Durham Bulls, the triple A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays of U.S. Major League Baseball. Durham Bulls, home to Durham of North Carolina, has chosen the NC Dinos to support in the KBO league, simply because the team’s name are identical to the state’s initials NC. “This is now an NC Dinos fan account,” the Twitter account added.
Not only do the initials match, but the team name (Dinos) is also a common ground for the two teams given that North Carolina is known as home to a number of dinosaur fossil sites. North Carolina State University is also well-know for research on dinosaurs. “The initial that both team use on their caps is D as well,” a baseball fan pointed out. The team gathered more attention as the first KBO league match broadcasted live by ESPN was the NC Dinos vs. the Samsung Lions. Fans around the world showed strong interest towards KBO league, which opened on Tuesday.
Former KBO players currently playing in the U.S. have joined the promotion. Milwaukee’s Josh Lindblom, who played five seasons for the Doosan Bears and the Lotte Giants in the KBO league), became a commentator for ESPN for the Doosan-LG game held on Wednesday. On the previous day, Lindblom introduced the opening of the KBO league as well as the official Instagram accounts for 10 KBO teams. Eric Thames, who had played for the NC Dinos, also appeared on ESPN to share on KBO league. Darin Ruf, who played for the Samsung Lions from 2017 to 2019 and currently plays for the San Francisco Giants, uploaded a video of his son wearing a Samsung uniform and shouting “Samsung Fighting.”
FanGraphs, an American baseball statistics website, published projections for the 2020 KBO league. Leading sabermetrics expert Dan Szymborski published ZiPS projected standings for the KBO, predicting that the Kiwoom Heroes would win by 86 wins and 58 losses, followed by the Doosan Bears in second place and the Hanwha Eagles coming in last. Park Byeong-ho is projected to have the most home runs at 30, batting average led by Park Min-woo of NC with 0.333, and Yang Hyun-jong to lead with an ERA of 2.98.
Hong-Gu Kang firstname.lastname@example.org