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New baseball season to have earliest start in league history

All News 10:20 January 04, 2018

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Jan. 4 (Yonhap) -- The 2018 South Korean professional baseball season will have the earliest start in league history, with a long midseason break for an international competition.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) announced its schedules for the upcoming season, with March 24 as the league's 37th Opening Day.

It's the earliest Opening Day ever in the KBO: the previous mark was March 27, first in 1982 and then again in 2010. Last year, the season began on March 31.

This is also the first time since 2015 that a season will start on a Saturday. The KBO scheduled the past two Opening Days on Fridays.

The KBO scheduled a fast start to account for a break for the Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia from Aug. 18 to Sept. 2. South Korea is the defending champion in baseball, and the national team will be almost entirely made up of KBO stars. The league will go on a hiatus from Aug. 16 to Sept. 3.

This file photo taken March 31, 2017, shows fans attending the 2017 Korea Baseball Organization season opener between the Doosan Bears and the Hanwha Eagles at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul. The 2018 season will begin on March 24, the earliest start to a season in KBO history. (Yonhap)

The preseason will run from March 13 to 21, with teams playing just eight games apiece, down from 12 games last year and 18 in 2016.

The reigning champion Kia Tigers will begin their title defense by hosting the KT Wiz for two games at Gwangju-Kia Champions Field in Gwangju, some 330 kilometers south of Seoul.

The Doosan Bears, runners-up last year, will play at home against the Samsung Lions at Jamsil Stadium in the nation's capital. Also in Seoul, the Nexen Heroes will face off against the Hanwha Eagles at Gocheok Sky Dome.

The SK Wyverns and the Lotte Giants will play at SK Happy Dream Park in Incheon, just west of Seoul. The NC Dinos will host the LG Twins at Masan Stadium in Changwon, 450 kilometers southeast of Seoul.

The All-Star Game will take place on July 14 at a venue to be determined later.

The KBO hasn't settled on starting times yet. Last year, all weekday games began at 6:30 p.m. In April, May and September, games began at 5 p.m. on Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays. But all weekend games began at 5 p.m. in June and 6 p.m. in July and August to avoid scorching conditions.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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