Korean Baseball 2020 Live: Baseball made a triumphant return in South Korea on Tuesday with the start of the 2020 Korea Baseball Organization season, featuring all 10 teams in action.
Major League Baseball has been unable to begin its regular season because of the coronavirus pandemic. There remains no potential start date for MLB, though there are ongoing talks between commissioner Rob Manfred and the MLB Players Association.
Thanks to a broadcast deal with ESPN, fans in the United States will be able to watch professional baseball from South Korea. The arrangement allows six regular-season telecasts each week featuring one game per day, with Monday the lone off day.
Because of the time difference, games will often air live overnight in the U.S., but ESPN is re-airing matchups on at least one of its channels in the afternoon.
2020 KBO TV Schedule and Live Stream Information (May 6-10)
May 6: Doosan Bears vs. LG Twins (Live at 5:30 a.m. ET; rebroadcast at 2 p.m. ET)
May 7: NC Dinos vs. Samsung Lions (Live at 5:30 a.m. ET; rebroadcast at 3 p.m. ET
May 8: Kia Tigers vs. Samsung Lions (Live at 5:30 a.m. ET; rebroadcast at 3 p.m. ET)
May 9: LG Twins vs. NC Dinos (Live at 4 a.m. ET; rebroadcast at 10 p.m. ET)
May 10: LG Twins vs. NC Dinos (Live at 1 a.m. ET)
Network: All games broadcast on ESPN2
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Odds to Win KBO Title in 2020 (via PointsBet, h/t Sean Zerillo of Action Network)
Doosan Bears (+350; bet $100 to win $350)
SK Wyverns (+400)
Kiwoom Heroes (+450)
NC Dinos (+550)
Kia Tigers (+700)
LG Twins (+800)
Samsung Lions (+1100)
KT Wiz (+2000)
Lotte Giants (+2000)
Hanwha Eagles (+2500)
The matchup of the Week
Doosan Bears vs. LG Twins
As the odds suggest, the Doosan Bears are the team to keep an eye on for new viewers to KBO baseball.
The Bears are the KBO equivalent of the New York Yankees or New England Patriots with their level of dominance. They have won the Korean Series three times in the past five seasons. In 2017 and 2018, they lost in the championship series.
According to “Baseball Brit” Joey Mellows, Doosan’s matchup with the LG Twins would be the MLB equivalent of the Yankees against the Los Angeles Dodgers:
Doosan has a difficult task trying to repeat that success in 2020 without pitcher Josh Lindblom. The right-hander was named KBO MVP last season after going 20-3 with a 2.50 ERA, 0.997 WHIP, and 189 strikeouts over 194.2 innings in 30 starts.
The Milwaukee Brewers signed Lindblom to a three-year contract in December to bring him back to the United States.
The offense shouldn’t be a problem for the Bears, who scored 736 runs in 144 games during the regular season and return Jose Miguel Fernandez. The Cuban star re-signed with the team after posting a .344/.409/.483 slash line in his first KBO season last year.
The Twins will have some players familiar to American fans. Casey Kelly, a first-round draft pick by the Boston Red Sox in 2008, leads the rotation. His transition to the KBO last season was a success with a 2.55 ERA in 29 starts.
Tyler Wilson, entering his third KBO season, is the No. 2 on LG’s staff. The 30-year-old posted a 2.92 ERA and 1.162 WHIP in 30 starts last year.
Doosan and LG share a stadium, adding some fuel to a rivalry that is one-sided because of the Bears’ success. If the Twins are going to take a step forward, the first head-to-head series of the season could be their launching pad.