MLB-KBO matchups in South Korea ballparks


MLB to play games in South Korea Image: Gocheok Sky Dome, redlegsfan21, CC BY-SA 2.0

The Major League Baseball (MLB) (US) is taking its talent to South Korea this offseason.

‘FanNation’ stated that the league and the Major League Baseball Players’ Association (MLBPA) announced recently that the MLB players will play a four-game ‘2022 Korea Series’ with the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) players from November 9th-16th. Games will take place in Busan (South Korea) at the 24,500-capacity Busan Sajik Baseball Stadium on November 11th and 12th and at Seoul’s 16,744-capacity Gocheok Sky Dome on November 14th and 15th.

The Major League Baseball is a professional baseball organization and the oldest major professional sports league in the world. As of 2022, a total of 30 teams play in Major League Baseball – 15 teams in the National League and 15 in the American League – with 29 in the United States and 1 in Canada.

The Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) is the collective bargaining representative for all current Major League Baseball players. All players, managers, coaches, and athletic trainers who hold or have held a signed contract with a Major League club are eligible for membership to the Association.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) is the governing body for the professional leagues of baseball in South Korea. The KBO was founded in 1981 and has governed two leagues: The KBO League and the KBO Futures League since 1982. It is one of two major baseball governing bodies, the other one is the Korea Baseball Association, which is the governing body for amateur baseball competitions.

The KBO League, officially known as the Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League due to sponsorship reasons, is the highest level league of baseball in South Korea. The KBO League was founded with six franchises in 1982 and is the most popular sports league in South Korea.

The KBO Futures League or Korea Baseball Futures League is South Korea’s second level of baseball, below the KBO League. It serves as a farm league with the purpose to develop professional players on-demand to play in the KBO League. The league consists of two divisions – the Southern League and the Northern League.

MLB Chief Operations and Strategy Officer Chris Marinak said in a statement, “Major League Baseball is excited to travel to Busan and Seoul for this historic series. This tour is the next step of MLB’s plan to deliver regular baseball events in Korea in the coming years and follows our upcoming Home Run Derby X, scheduled for September 17th in Seoul. South Korea’s rich baseball tradition has produced many accomplished Major League players, including All-Stars Chan Ho Park (former professional baseball pitcher) and Shin-Soo Choo (baseball outfielder), as well as current Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Hyun Jin Ryu and Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Ji-Man Choi. We thank J-One and the KBO for partnering with us and the MLBPA on this great event.”

‘FanNation’ further stated that the other big leaguers from Korea who have played in the majors this year include San Diego Padres’s Ha-seong Kim (baseball shortstop), Pittsburgh Pirate’s Hoy Park (baseball infielder) and Boston Red Sox’s Rob Refsnyder (baseball second baseman).

The MLB players have not played exhibition games in Korea since 1922. A group that included Casey Stengel (American baseball Manager), Waite Hoyt (American baseball player) and Herb Pennock (American baseball athlete) played across Asia that year, stopping in Japan and China, in addition to South Korea.

Said Leonor Colon, the MLBPA Senior Director, International and Domestic Player Operations, “South Korea’s rich baseball history and its knowledgeable, fun-loving and highly engaged fan base make it an ideal place to showcase our Major League Players as we continue expanding our game globally. Among today’s elite Major League stars are the first-class South Korean athletes who are also premier standouts in international tournaments like the World Baseball Classic.”

The 2022 Korea Series is part of MLB’s World Tour, an international plan featuring up to 24 regular season games and up to 16 exhibition games across the globe. Games will be played in Asia, Mexico, Latin America, and Europe through the 2026 season.

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