Korean baseball, hit by COVID-19, is a great opportunity to
wash away the shame of being eliminated in the first round in a row and
recover lost popularity.
From the group stage, head coach Lee Kang-cheol clashes with rival Japan, entry confirmed in early February
The momentum of the national team is now inherited by the baseball team.
As the two most popular sports in Korea take on challenges on the ‘World’ stage one after another, fans’ attention is focused. In particular, professional baseball is going to an important tournament that can turn the mood amid the cooling fan spirit due to the recent decrease in spectators and frequent incidents.
The 5th World Baseball Classic (WBC) will be held in March next year. The WBC is the largest world championship in baseball. It is the ‘Baseball World Cup’ in which the best players such as the US Major League compete for the honor of the nation. Originally scheduled to be held in 2021, the WBC was held in two years due to Corona 19. In this competition, 20 countries, four more from the existing 16, will participate and compete for supremacy.
For Korean baseball, which has been hit hard by Corona 19 over the past two years, it is important to find a driving force to recover popularity through this WBC. The number of spectators for professional baseball this season was 6,076,074. Compared to the 2019 season (7,286,008 people) just before Corona 19 came, about 1.2 million people decreased. Even before Corona 19, the number of professional baseball spectators continued to decline. In the 2017-2018 season, it exceeded 8 million, but in 2019 it decreased to the early 7 million.
Frequent accidents in professional baseball and poor performance were cited as the main causes. In particular, in 2021, there was an unprecedented situation in which the league stopped due to violation of the Corona 19 quarantine rules. At the Tokyo Olympics held that year, there were rumors of a crisis in professional baseball as it ended up with no medals.
As the KBO League has built up its 40-year history, the level of baseball fans has increased. I have the memory of winning the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The ‘Beijing Kids’, who grew up dreaming of watching the competition at the time, are now on the ground. Now, it is necessary to create new ‘kids’ for the greater leap of Korean baseball. 안전놀이터
This is why the performance of the Korean national team has become more important in this WBC. Korea succeeded in advancing to the semifinals in the first competition and took the runner-up in 2009, but suffered the humiliation of being eliminated in the first round of two consecutive competitions. Director Lee Kang-cheol’s shoulders are heavy.
On the 18th, the KBO announced 50 national interest lists (preliminary lists). After the final 30 players are selected in early February, convocation training begins in Arizona, USA. In this tournament, from the group stage, we will meet our “rival” Japan. On March 9, the first match of the first round, they will face Australia, Japan on the 10th, the Czech Republic on the 12th, and China on the 13th.