금요일, 5월 24, 2024
HomeNewsMLB to hold 2024 season opener in Seoul

MLB to hold 2024 season opener in Seoul

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Major League Baseball (MLB) will open its 2024 season in South Korea with two games between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres.

MLB and the MLB Players Association (MLBPA) announced their plans for four international series outside the United States and Canada on Wednesday (U.S. local time) in 2024, with regular season stops in Mexico City and London, and spring training action in the Dominican Republic also included.

Dubbed the “Seoul Series” as part of the MLB World Tour, the games in South Korea between the two National League West division rivals on March 20 and 21 will be the first MLB regular season contests ever played in this country.

A report out of San Diego had first claimed in May that the Padres and the Dodgers would open the 2024 season in the South Korean capital.

MLB has opened a regular season outside the U.S. and Canada on eight previous occasions, most recently in Tokyo in 2019.

Both the Dodgers and the Padres have strong Korean connection.

Right-handed pitcher Park Chan-ho, the first South Korean player in MLB history, pitched for the Dodgers from 1994 to 2001 and again in 2008, making them one of the most beloved big league clubs in South Korea.

Park is currently an adviser in the Padres front office. Infielder Choi Hee-seop and pitcher Seo Jae-weong also donned Dodger blue in the mid-2000s.

Left-hander Ryu Hyun-jin was a mainstay in the Dodgers starting rotation from 2013 to 2019. In his final season there, Ryu led the majors with a 2.32 ERA and became the first South Korean pitcher to start an MLB All-Star Game.

In this Associated Press file photo from July 2, 2023, Kim Ha-seong of the San Diego Padres rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run against the Cincinnati Reds during a Major League Baseball regular season game at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. (Yonhap)

“We can’t wait to play meaningful major league games for the very first time in front of the outstanding baseball fans of South Korea next season,” Dodgers president Stan Kasten said in a statement. “The Dodgers have a long and proud history of helping to grow the game abroad, highlighted by our trips to Mexico, China and Australia. It’s very exciting to add Korea to the list. I know our players are thrilled to put their talents on display in a country so rich with baseball tradition and talent, including former Dodgers Chan Ho Park, Hee-Seop Choi and Hyun Jin Ryu.”

In addition to Park, another pitcher, Baek Cha-seung, also played for the Padres. Infielder Kim Ha-seong has been playing for the Friars since 2021. He has become a fan favorite, with home fans chanting “Ha-seong Kim!” before his plate appearances at Petco Park, and has developed into one of MLB’s top defensive players.

Kim was a finalist for the NL Gold Glove at shortstop last season. This year, he leads all MLB second basemen in Outs Above Average, which measures how many outs a player has saved for his team compared with an average fielder, with 11.

In this USA Today Sports photo via Reuters, San Diego Padres second baseman Kim Ha-seong (R) throws to first base after forcing out New York Mets designated hitter Mark Canha at second base to complete a double play during the top of the sixth inning of a Major League Baseball regular season game at Petco Park in San Diego on July 9, 2023. (Yonhap)

“Korea is a great baseball country with a rich tradition, passionate fans and talented players, including current Padre and San Diego fan favorite Ha-Seong Kim,” Padres CEO Erik Greupner said. “The Padres are proud to serve alongside the Dodgers as global ambassadors for the game of baseball with our historic 2024 Korea Series.”

These will be the Dodgers’ first international games since they faced the Padres in Mexico in 2018, and their second Opening Day overseas since 2014 in Australia.

The Padres also played games abroad this season, in Mexico City against the San Francisco Giants. The Padres were also part of the very first international Opening Day series in 1999, when they played the Colorado Rockies in Monterrey, Mexico.

“Major League Baseball is incredibly excited for this extensive slate of international games in 2024,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said. “Our recent efforts have produced strong enthusiasm around the globe, and we look forward to building on that foundation with returns to Mexico City and London, while also opening the season in Korea for the first time.”

by Yonhap



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