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Play ball

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By John Burton

In early May, ESPN, the American sports broadcaster, started showing six Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) games a week for sport-starved fans in the U.S. who had been denied the opportunity of watching local baseball games due to COVID-19.

Suddenly, Americans are rooting for the current winning streak of the NC Dinos, even though few could locate the team's home of Changwon on a map. They are also discovering the sibling rivalry of the Doosan Bears and the LG Twins who share the same stadium in Seoul.

The live KBO broadcasts normally start in the pre-dawn hours U.S. time but are repeated in the afternoon to allow U.S. baseball fans to get their daily fix.

The ESPN baseball commentators are based at their homes in the U.S. and watch the games remotely on a televised feed from Korea. The intimate broadcast set-up also creates the feeling for viewers of sitting in the stands and overhearing the conversation of knowledgeable fans as they keep one eye on the game.

It is this conversation that accompanies the games that provides lessons for American fans not only about the quirks of Korean baseball ― the current........

© The Korea Times