KBO and MLB seasons begin

KBO+and+MLB+seasons+begin

Erin Choi, Copy Editor

For the past two years, the pandemic has not done justice to the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) and Major League Baseball (MLB) seasons due to the lack of fan attendance. So, baseball fans have been eagerly anticipating the upcoming season to resume their usual involvement.

The 2022 KBO season started on April 2, and this marked the 40th anniversary of the league. The KBO will be sticking to its basic format: each of the 10 clubs will face each other 16 times for a total of 720 games. Throughout the season, events to commemorate the KBO’s anniversary, including a Classic Series amongst the league’s founding teams, will be held.

“The KBO teams have undergone great changes prior to this season,” Sean Lee (11), avid baseball fan, said. “For example, the Doosan Bears lost a lot of its key players, while the Kiwoom Heroes recruited lots of young players with great potential. Overall, the KT Wiz and Kiwoom Heroes appear to be the top competitors this year; however, nothing is guaranteed, especially with baseball’s unpredictable nature.” 

Apart from the LG Twins, who share the Jamsil stadium with the Doosan Bears, the opening day games took place at the home stadiums of the top five teams from the previous season. Three games were held in Seoul on opening day: the Hanwha Eagles traveled to Jamsil to play against the Bears, the LG Twins faced the Kiwoom Heroes at the Gocheok Sky Dome, and the Samsung Lions played against the KT Wiz at Suwon. As for the remaining teams, the Twins took on the KIA Tigers at Gwangju, while the SSG Landers went against the NC Dinos at Changwon.

After a two-year hiatus from the All-Star Game due to COVID-19, the seven-day event is to recommence on July 16. Due to the event, an All-Star break will be scheduled from July 15-21 to ensure all the selected players can participate.

As for the 2022 Asian Games, unlike the previous Asian Games or Olympic Games, Korea will send a national team composed mostly of young prospects and amateurs. The KBO announced that it will place an age limit on players eligible for the national teams attending the Asian Games, and it will be working with the Korea Baseball Softball Association to select the players. Hence, the KBO season will not pause due to the Asian Games this year. 

In America, the 2022 MLB season began on April 7, on which the Boston Red Sox played against the New York Yankees at the Yankee Stadium as the first matchup. By the next day, all 30 MLB teams had played their first game of the season.

Though MLB teams were only able to play 60 games in 2020, like the KBO, the MLB will follow its regular schedule of 162 games this year. The 2022 MLB season will hold an All-Star Game on July 19 at Dodger stadium.

“I am especially excited for this season,” Bryan Lee (11), MLB fan, said. “There was a lot going on in the previous season regarding how COVID-19 would be addressed and how the MLB was going to stick to certain restrictions. I think because of this, many fans were confused and overall less engaged throughout the season. I can see how things are returning to how they used to be since COVID-19 is not so much of a threat now.” 

With both this year’s KBO and MLB seasons off to a solid start, fans are looking forward to viewing the games in person. While MLB fans were able to spectate the baseball games towards the end of the previous season, KBO fans were confined by strict COVID-19 protocols. This year, however, KBO fans are finally allowed to spectate the games in person, which is equally exciting for the baseball teams.

“I anticipate both the KBO and MLB seasons to be far more entertaining than last year’s seasons,” Hana Jeon, KBO fanatic, said. “With fans in the stadium, the baseball players are going to be more motivated themselves, and I think this could potentially result in improved play overall. I expect to see increased numbers of home runs, especially for the team I support—the Samsung Lions. Most importantly, I hope that both KBO and MLB teams can have a season with minimal hindrance imposed by COVID-19 and that fans can fully enjoy the games without being concerned.”