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Tie-breaker to be introduced in Korean baseball leagues

Posted July. 21, 2023 08:08,   

Updated July. 21, 2023 08:08


Starting next year, the Korean professional baseball 1st division league will introduce an extended tie-breaking system. Accordingly, ties will disappear unless games are suspended due to heavy rain, earthquakes, typhoons, or other natural disasters.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) announced the 'KBO League and Team Korea Level Up Project' on Thursday, which includes these changes. The KBO office explained that this is a comprehensive long-term plan aimed at raising the level of league games and the national baseball team while expanding the base of local baseball.

The gist of the plan is to implement various measures used in international competitions, such as Major League Baseball (MLB) in the United States and the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in domestic professional baseball. MLB has introduced extended tie-breaking this year, where if a game remains tied after the regular nine innings, they start the 10th inning with a runner on second base. "The specifics, such as whether to place a runner on second base or on both first and second bases, have not been determined yet. We will conduct various simulations to find ways to add excitement to the games," a KBO official explained. In the Futures League, Korea's 2nd division league, they have applied extended tie-breaking since last year, starting with runners on first and second bases.

To reduce game time, MLB introduced pitch clocks this year, which will be first implemented in the Futures League from next year. In the second half of this year, KBO will install pitch clock operation equipment in all baseball stadiums where 1st and 2nd division league games are held. KBO plans to introduce pitch clocks in the 1st division league soon after running the new system in the Futures League.

To maintain baseball's dynamism, MLB's defensive shift ban, which was adopted this year, will also be applied to the Futures League starting next year, with the goal of introducing it to the 1st division league by 2025. The rule to require pitchers to face a minimum of three batters will be introduced in the Futures League by 2024 and in the 1st division league by 2025. The regulation has already been put in place in MLB and WBC.

KBO is also considering the long-term introduction of a 'ball-strike automatic judging system' using robot umpires, but a decision on its adoption and timing has not been made yet. To enhance the international competitiveness of Korean baseball, KBO has decided to revive the position of full-time managers and appoint coaches on a full-time basis to assist them.

Heon-Jae Lee uni@donga.com