KBO: Fans must sit apart, no outside food permitted when stadiums open

All Headlines 13:33 June 30, 2020

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, June 30 (Yonhap) — When fans return to baseball stadiums sometime in July, they will be asked to sit apart from one another to maintain a safe distance. And they’ll not be allowed to bring in any outside food.

This will be part of a new normal in fan experience in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) during the coronavirus pandemic.

The KBO released a new health and safety manual for fans Tuesday, as it prepares to swing open gates to baseball enthusiasts.

A Korea Baseball Organization regular season game between the NC Dinos and the Doosan Bears takes place without fans at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on June 28, 2020. (Yonhap)
In this file photo from June 11, 2020, mascots for the LG Twins cheer on their team during a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game against the SK Wyverns at an empty Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul. (Yonhap)

A Korea Baseball Organization regular season game between the NC Dinos and the Doosan Bears takes place without fans at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on June 28, 2020. (Yonhap)hide captionpreviousnext1 of 2

A Korea Baseball Organization regular season game between the NC Dinos and the Doosan Bears takes place without fans at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on June 28, 2020. (Yonhap)
In this file photo from June 11, 2020, mascots for the LG Twins cheer on their team during a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game against the SK Wyverns at an empty Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul. (Yonhap)

The 2020 season opened on May 5 without fans in the stands amid the pandemic, and the league’s 10 clubs have been struggling financially without zero gate revenue. In a welcome relief, the government announced Sunday that sports stadiums would reopen on a limited basis, as long as teams adhere to stringent quarantine measures.

To that end, the KBO put out the manual to ensure safe environments across the league’s nine stadiums.

Fans must wear masks and keep them on during the course of the game. When they stand in a line at the entrance, bathrooms or concession stands, they must maintain a safe distance from others. Teams will put stickers, set 1 meter apart, on their stadium floors to indicate where fans should stand.

Fans must go through temperature checks at the gate, and those who check in at over 37.5 C will be turned away.

Once inside the stands, they must also sit at least one seat from each other, even when they have company.

Though cheering is a major part of KBO fan experience, it will be missing during the pandemic. The KBO manual says singalongs, chanting and other types of cheering that may include contact will be limited.

Tickets can only be purchased in advance online with credit cards, so that health authorities will be able to trace contact information in case of positive COVID-19 tests. Box offices at stadiums will be closed to minimize person-to-person contact.

The KBO said fans will be strongly discouraged from buying tickets from scalpers because it is illegal, and it poses infection risks through direct contact or droplets.

Concession stands will be open on a limited bases but eating from the seats and bringing food from outside will be prohibited. Fans will have to consume their food in the concession areas.

While in their seats, fans will only be allowed to drink water and non-alcoholic beverages.

Teams will only sell tickets to reserve seats at first, and other ballpark amenities, such as children’s playgrounds, will be closed to prevent a crowd from gathering. Smoking rooms will remain shuttered.

Fans will be discouraged from bringing in preschool children due to safety concerns, and those who come in with young children will be asked to take extra care.

“There will be some inconvenience for our fans following these restrictions during the pandemic,” the KBO said. “However, in order to prevent COVID-19 infections and to ensure a safe viewing experience, we’ll need our fans to follow these rules.”

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Preston Tucker wins car after hitting homer in KBO League — HardballTalk | NBC Sports

Outfielder Preston Tucker of the Kia Tigers won a Kia Sorento when he hit a ball that landed in the “Home Run Zone” on Sunday.

Preston Tucker wins car after hitting homer in KBO League — HardballTalk | NBC Sports

Former MLB outfielder Preston Tucker has gotten off to a blazing hot start in the KBO League. Entering Sunday’s action, Tucker was hitting .475/.543/.925 with four home runs and 19 RBI in 46 plate appearances.
Tucker kept up the hot hitting on Sunday and won himself a car in the process. Per MLB.com’s Alex Fast, Tucker’s fifth home run — a solo shot to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning — hit the “Home Run Zone” just beyond the fence in right-center field at Kia Challengers Field. There, a Kia Sorento perches on a small platform. Tucker’s blast appeared to strike the roof of the car. Players who homer into the “Home Run Zone” win the car as a prize.



Preston Tucker won a Kia Sorento today.

He’s currently tied for the HR lead in the KBO with 5.



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The blast was not enough, however, as Tucker’s Tigers lost to the Doosan Bears 6-4. The homer was Tucker’s only hit on the afternoon.
Tucker, 29, spent parts of three seasons in Major League Baseball from 2015-18 with the Astros, Braves, and Reds. In total, he hit .222/.281/.403 with 23 home runs and 68 RBI in 651 trips to the plate.

The MLB connection to the KBO League — HardballTalk | NBC Sports

A handful of former major leaguers are on the rosters of teams in the KBO League, which kicks off its regular season in about nine hours.

The MLB connection to the KBO League — HardballTalk | NBC Sports

The KBO League, South Korea’s highest professional baseball league, will begin its regular season in about nine hours from the time of this posting. ESPN will broadcast the games “generally on ESPN2 and the ESPN App.”

For many Americans, who only watch Major League Baseball, watching Korean baseball will bring in a whole host of unknown faces and talents. There are, however, a handful of former major leaguers currently on KBO rosters. If you’re looking for a familiar face, you may find one here:

Doosan Bears

  • 1B José Miguel Fernández (2018 Angels)
  • P Raul Alcántara (2016-17 Athletics)
  • Chris Flexen (2017-19 Mets)

Hanwha Eagles

Kia Tigers

  • Drew Gagnon (2018-19 Mets)
  • OF Preston Tucker (2015-16 Astros; ’18 Braves, Reds)
  • P Aaron Brooks (2014-15 Royals; ’15, ’18-19 Athletics, ’19 Orioles)

Kiwoom Heroes

  • P Eric Jokisch (2014 Cubs)
  • P Jake Brigham (2015 Braves)
  • UT Taylor Motter (2016 Rays, ’17-18 Mariners, ’18 Twins)
  • 1B ByungHo Park (2016 Twins)

KT Wiz

  • P Odrisamer Despaigne (2014-15 Padres; ’16 Orioles; ’16-18 Marlins; ’18 Angels, ’19 White Sox)
  • 3B Jae-gyun Hwang (2017 Giants)
  • P William Cuevas (2016 Red Sox; ’17 Tigers; ’18 Red Sox)

LG Twins

  • Casey Kelly (2012, ’15 Padres; ’16 Braves; ’18 Giants)
  • 1B Dae-ho Lee (2016 Mariners)
  • P Tyler Wilson (2015-17 Orioles)
  • OF Hyun Soo Kim (2016-17 Orioles; ’17 Phillies)

Lotte Giants

  • Dan Straily (2012-14 Athletics; ’14 Cubs; ’15 Astros; ’16 Reds; ’17-18 Marlins; ’19 Orioles)
  • P Adrian Sampson (2016 Mariners; ’18-19 Rangers)
  • 2B/SS Dixon Machado (2015-18 Tigers)

NC Dinos

Samsung Lions

  • P Seunghwan Oh (2016-17 Cardinals; ’18 Blue Jays; ’18-19 Rockies)
  • IF Tyler Saladino (2015-18 White Sox; ’18-19 Brewers)
  • P Ben Lively (2017-18 Phillies; ’18-19 Royals)
  • David Buchanan (2014-15 Phillies)

SK Wyverns

  • Nick Kingham (2018-19 Pirates; ’19 Blue Jays)
  • 1B/OF Jamie Romak (2014 Dodgers; ’15 Diamondbacks)
  • Ricardo Pinto (2017 Phillies; ’19 Rays)

F