Korean Baseball Live on ESPN
Baseball stadiums in the United States remain empty a month after MLB’s season was supposed to open, but live sports are resuming in South Korea. The country’s top league, the KBO, is in full swing, with ESPN airing six live games a week. The network is the exclusive English-language broadcaster for the 144-game regular season, and it has brought in top announcers to call the games from its home quarantined studios.
The KBO is different than the MLB in many ways. There are more teams, for instance, and the league’s regular season lasts just 144 games, compared to the MLB’s 162. And it’s much more offense-oriented, with 10 players in last year’s 10-team KBO hitting at least 20 home runs. That includes former Minnesota Twin and current NC Dinos outfielder Aaron Altherr, who tells CNBC Make It that he’s also noticed how much less likely it is for players to argue with umpires.
One thing is for sure: Even though the games are being played without fans, there’s plenty of flair. There are dancers in the stands, mascots, and cheerleaders on the sidelines. And the field is lit with strobe lights, which adds to the energy. It’s not the same as the energy of a full stadium, but it’s still pretty cool.
As for the gameplay itself, it’s pretty good. But if you’re used to the more physical nature of Major League Baseball, the game can seem a little sloppy at times. The infield play isn’t as crisp, and double plays aren’t turned as quickly. And the hitters often hit the ball hard, which can lead to foul balls if the umpire isn’t careful.
Despite the difference in style, the KBO is still a very watchable and enjoyable sport. ESPN is doing a great job of covering the games, with its marquee names like Jon Sciambi and Jessica Mendoza calling the action and Karl Ravech and Eduardo Perez doing color commentary. The network is also taking advantage of the opportunity to boost the profile of the KBO, a league that can’t afford to miss out on this moment in sports history.
If you’re interested in watching a game, the easiest way to do so is through an ESPN streaming package or any service that includes the network as part of its lineup. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, you can also find KBO games on Pluto TV and YouTube.
If you’re not able to get a cable or satellite subscription, you can still stream the games using a VPN. Here’s how to do it. 한국야구실시간