With no MLB in the foreseeable future this Rays fan has his eye on the only game in town the KBO.
The South Korean Baseball League will be airing it’s games live on ESPN starting at about 1 a.m. Eastern time, as part of a new deal with the network. The games will feature american commentary.
The league started in 1982 starting with six franchises, but would later expand to ten teams. The Kia Tigers are the most successful team having won 11 out of the 38 championship games. The teams are mainly made up of South Korean born players but each team allows three international players on each team. The quality of play is not MLB level but it’s definitely better than most Triple A games. Top flight pitchers are slinging 93 mph fast balls in the KBO as opposed to some MLB pitchers that throw 97 mph. If your a fan of big sluggers this league has it, and you know what that means more celebratory bat flips.
Now the question is what team to root for? I am going with the Kimwoon Heroes, the only team in the league not named after a company or a business. The Heroes play in the Gocheok Sky Dome, a state of the art dome giving off vibes of what a new Tropicana Field could look like in St.Petersburg. Heavy hitter First baseman Park Byung-ho lead the KBO in homers last year with 33. Shortstop Kim Ha-seong is also an MLB caliber player to watch out for on the Heroes.
The KBO is currently playing games with fake fans in attendance which is a bad sign for upcoming Rays season ticket holders. We might be able to at least see our home town team play but it will be from behind a screen. Until the MLB makes a decision on the 2020 season, the only thing get our sports fix as of now might be KBO baseball. In that case Go Heroes!!!