“If a team of this level plays baseball in the United States, who will watch it?”
The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) is promoting the opening game of the 2024 season in the United States. President Heo Gu-yeon visited the United States three times in one year for this matter. However, the reaction of baseball players is cold. 안전놀이터 Former baseball team coach Kim In-sik said in a recent phone call with this magazine, “Shouldn’t spectators come only when they build up their skills and feel that ‘Korean baseball is good’ even in the United States? At this rate, only Koreans will come.” An official from the baseball world said, “It is not an opening game in the United States, but a game where the national team should be sent to Australian professional baseball like Geelong Korea.”
Korea won the 5th cold game 22-2 in the final match of the first round of the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) against China at Tokyo Dome, Japan on the 13th. It is the record for the most points in the WBC history and the most points in a game for the Korean national team. However, regardless of the victory that day, Korea was eliminated in the first round. Japan (4 wins) and Australia (3 wins, 1 loss) advanced to the quarterfinals with 1st and 2nd place. Korean baseball experienced the humiliation of being eliminated in the first round of the WBC three times in a row following the 2013 and 2017 tournaments.
Prior to the opening of the tournament, Japan ranked 2nd and Korea 7th out of 20 teams in a power evaluation by Baseball America, a leading American baseball media. On the other hand, Australia (18th), the Czech Republic (19th) and China (20th) were all ranked at the bottom. Korea suffered a disaster even though they were placed in a group that literally ‘couldn’t have been easier’.