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KBO GMs propose starting 2021 season in April

All News 15:33 December 09, 2020

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Dec. 9 (Yonhap) -- General managers of the 10 South Korean baseball clubs have proposed starting the new season in April.

Those 10 officials met for their Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) executive committee meeting Tuesday to discuss the schedule for the new season and other issues.

They've settled on April 3 as the temporary Opening Day, and the board of governors, made up of club presidents, will meet next week to review the idea.

In this file photo from Nov. 24, 2020, members of the NC Dinos celebrate their Korean Series championship following a 4-2 victory over the Doosan Bears in Game 6 at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul. (Yonhap)

Recent KBO seasons started in late March. This year, because of the coronavirus pandemic, Opening Day was pushed from March 28 to May 5. Teams still managed to get all 144 games into the tighter scheduling window, and the Korean Series championship was awarded on Nov. 24, the latest conclusion to a season in league history.

Spring training will start Feb. 1. Teams have typically traveled to warmer regions outside South Korea for spring training, but travel restrictions brought on by COVID-19 will keep them in the country this time.

The Tokyo Summer Olympics, postponed by a year to July 2021, will also have a bearing on the KBO schedule.

If the Olympic Games take place as scheduled, the KBO will then work in a midseason break of about two weeks, with the league's star players representing South Korea at the competition.

That will likely push the postseason into November again. This year, all games in the final two rounds of the postseason were played at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul as the neutral venue. The board will likely have that possibility on the agenda at their meeting next week.

Among other issues discussed Tuesday, general managers agreed to scrap the "secondary" draft, or the KBO's equivalent of the Rule 5 draft in Major League Baseball.

This file photo from Nov. 24, 2020, shows Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul during Game 6 of the Korean Series between the NC Dinos and the Doosan Bears. (Yonhap)

Under that draft, KBO teams can each select up to three players left unprotected by other clubs. Much like the Rule 5 draft, the KBO version is designed to prevent teams from hoarding young players in the minors when those prospects could be playing in the KBO for other clubs.

The executive board agreed that the secondary draft is an idea that has run its course, and certain teams have lost more players than others.

The Doosan Bears, for instance, have had 23 players picked over five drafts. Last year, a record-low 18 players switched teams.

The team officials also discussed tweaking rules guiding the injured list (IL), so that players who are placed on the IL must spend a minimum 10 days before being activated. There was no such limit this year, and players could come off the IL after just one day.

The general managers also agreed to refrain from interviewing coaches on other teams during the postseason, a practice that has created awkward situations lately with coaches switching clubs in the middle of their teams' playoff runs.

The officials said if teams feel they must interview coaching or managerial candidates from other clubs currently in the postseason, they should seek permission from the candidates' current teams.

In this file photo from May 5, 2020, a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game between the Doosan Bears and the LG Twins is played at an empty Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul. (Yonhap)


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