Korean Baseball League Is Back: Important Things About KBO

Author: Mansi


The KBO League is conducted in South Korea annually in March. This year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the country was among the first to witness tremendous consequences. The league which was scheduled on March 28 had to be postponed until further notice.

Thanks to the country’s timely control measures, the league was scheduled on May 05, 2020. While the number of infected cases is drastically dropping, the championship is going on in full force. It has been declared that if anyone related to the KBO League in any manner gets infected with the virus, the championship will be put to halt for weeks in a row. 

Measures are being taken to telecast the league matches in the U.S.A, keeping baseball enthusiasts fixed on the screens. Yes, fans cannot see the bats smashing the balls and teams taking the toss. They will have to cheer their favorite players while being at home. 

A series of matches are already over and here’s what fans need to know about the league. 

Meet the Teams:

The KBO 2020 season has 10 competitive teams. They are NC Dinos, LG Twins, Kiwoom Heroes, Doosan Bears, Lotte Giants, Kia Tigers, KT Wiz, Hanwha Eagles, Samsung Lions, and SK Wyverns.

Contrary to the usual names denoting the states or countries, it is to be noted that Doosan Bears, Kiwoom Heroes, and LG Twins stand for Seoul, Korea’s capital. The Lions represent Daegu, Daejeon is for the Eagles, and KT Wiz belongs to Suwon. Changwon and Incheon are for NC Dinos and SK Wyverns respectively.

The Lions, Bears, Eagles, Tigers, and Twins are the oldest in the league. The rest joined the race much later but are expected to give a tough and fair fight.  

Structure of the season:

Similar to the usual pattern, the KBO League will hold 144 games in total. That means each team gets to play sixteen matches with the remaining nine teams. The championship hopes to maintain the pattern and conduct all the 144 games without any disruption. 

The Playoffs:

The KBO League structure is quite different from other game structures. That is because it has only ten teams. After a series of matches, the top five teams get qualified for the second level. That is when the game becomes more interesting. The best among these five teams receive a bonus to enter the best of seven championships, which is known as the Korean Series. 

But before the commencement of the intriguing Korean series, the teams in fourth and fifth positions have to compete in the best of three. This is referred to as the Wild Card round. But there is a twist. The fifth team starts with a 0 – 1 score as a bonus to the team in the fourth position. This rule is specified in the KBO rulebook. The winner of this series advances to a match with the team in the third position. Finally, the winner goes ahead to compete with the second team. 

The empty stadium, stricter rules: 

Unfortunately, fans cannot see the game live but only on the broadcast. The KBO League 2020 season will be a game with none to cheer for. But officials spill the milk and often reveal decisions being taken by the board. In such a case, an official has said that measures will be soon taken for spectators to watch the league. Contrary to the usual, the government has advised allowing only 20% to 25% of the stadium to be reserved for spectators.

The decision was necessary to control the spread of the virus. Erstwhile, players and officials have to strictly follow several rules- the foremost among them being social distancing. 

All officials and opponents were obliged to undertake the coronavirus test and submit the results before the League personnel. 

This season's players are not allowed to converse with their team-mates and the referee. That makes the game challenging because players cannot discuss their game strategies while on the field. 

Every player will be given his own set of baseball kits and water bottles. Utmost care is taken to ensure there is no mix and match. The rules don’t end there- no shaking hands, hugging, and hi-five.

Spitting is a common gesture in every game field. It has been prohibited strictly and players find this the most challenging. 

The league officials made arrangements to check the temperature of every member twice a day. Despite that, the players are impelled to download an application into their mobile phones and report their health status accurately to the board. 

Rest assured, masks have been made compulsory not just for players and coaches but even the non-uniform members which include cleaners, batboys, and girls. 

KBO has declared to call off the match if any player or coach tests positive. Otherwise, if any member only has the symptoms, that person will be eliminated. The champion can only be declared if at least 22 matches are over. If that does not happen, then the season will end without a victor. Later the league will announce details about further possibilities or declare teams that will get to enter into the AFC Continental. 

Last Few Words:

Sports will keep people occupied in such a tumultuous time. Packed with energy and action, the KBO League matches are being aired on ESPN. Stay tuned! 



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