ESPN announced on Monday that it would broadcast Korean Baseball Organization games starting Tuesday at 1 a.m. ET.
ESPN will broadcast live baseball again…a true miracle. Starting Tuesday morning, the network will show games from the Korea Baseball Organization.
ESPN will air six KBO games per week. Here's the schedule for this week! pic.twitter.com/QB0mb9srDZ
— Jared Diamond (@jareddiamond) May 4, 2020
With most professional sports leagues on indefinite hiatus, baseball is only taking place in a few places. The Chinese Professional Baseball League has been live-streaming some games on the Eleven Sports Taiwan Twitter account while New York Yankees reliever Aroldis Chapman has posted a number of throwing videos on Instagram.
Unfortunately, outside of that, baseball fans have been starved for content.
But the darkest days are over. Sure, fans desperately crave the return of Major League Baseball and the time slots these games occupy are not suited for East Coast viewership, but it’s better than nothing.
At the very least, fans will have highlights to watch. Maybe they can’t sit and watch nine full innings, but they can at least catch the back end of a 5:30 a.m. ET start before work.
Even further, this represents an incredible opportunity to see some potential MLB-caliber talent. Ji-Man Choi, Shin-soo Choo, and Hyun-Jin Ryu are all Korean-born players, the latter-most individual having spent seven seasons with the Hanwha Eagles. It’s possible with more attention turned towards the KBO, some young talent could separate from the rest of the league.
There’s also former MLB talent in the KBO. Ex-Miami Marlins pitcher Dan Straily will throw during Opening Day for the Lotte Giants. At 31 years old, this could be an opportunity to show MLB teams that he can still be an asset.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who’s playing. I haven’t recognized any players in the CPBL but I still watch almost every morning. Fans likely won’t recognize many players in the KBO but they’ll still tune in when the games air. And that’s because we’re baseball fans and it’s almost summer. We should be out at the park drinking overpriced beers and eating overpriced hot dogs. It sucks that we can’t.
But at least we can still sit down and watch a ball game, even if that game starts at 1 a.m. ET.