4:25 a.m. ET: While Bae Jae-hwan came in and gave up a pair of walks, Won Jong-hyun replaced him and got the final two outs in the ninth while keeping the shutout intact. It’s a final in Daegu: Dinos 4, Lions 0.
Both these teams will be back at it tomorrow, but the reaction on social media has been overwhelmingly positive about the quality of play and the broadcast. The -150 Dinos are the victors. The under of 8.5 hits too, as does the run line for Dinos at -1.5 +117.
Tomorrow’s games are at 5:30 a.m. ET, so we’ll see if the audience is as popular in the early morning on the east coast as it was for the late shift crowd.
And here are some of the best vids from today’s action:
This ump's strike three looking call is like he's starting a lawnmower. pic.twitter.com/6WK5sCma9Z— Matthew Reichbach (@fbihop) May 5, 2020
4:10 a.m. ET: Behind some terrific defensive plays at third base by both Park Suk-min and Lee Won-seok, we move to the bottom of the 9th inning with a 4-0 lead for NC Dinos. The relief pitching for both sides has been terrific, as no one has even been truly tested since the sixth inning.
3:50 a.m. ET: Two innings of great relief by Lee Seung-hyun and Jang Pil-joon have kept things from getting worse for Samsung, but they still trail 4-0 through the middle of the eighth inning. Im Chang-min had a 1-2-3 inning in the 7th for NC, and Kang Yoon-Goo enters to deal the 8th for the visitors with a 4-0 lead.
3:30 a.m. ET: Drew Rucinski gets out of the sixth after 90 pitches having still not conceded a run, and it remains 4-0 NC. A couple hits in the last inning for Samsung, but they strand 1st and 3rd with one out. We head to the top of the 7th...
3:20 a.m. ET: NC is starting to run away with it as Baek hits the 90’s with his pitch count. Back-to-back jacks by Park Suk-min and Mo Chang-min make it 4-0 in the mid 6th, and Mo’s came with the first ESPN KBO bat flip of the season. It sure was a beauty too.
3:00 a.m. ET: A deep drive by Aaron Altherr reaches the warning track, his second deep fly ball to right of the game, but it falls just a few feet short of a home run for the final out of the top of the 5th. It’s still 2-0 Dinos, as J.H. Baek has his pitch count hit 76. We’ll see if there’s bullpen action forthcoming.
2:45 a.m. ET: NC plates another via doubles by Yang Eui-ji and Mo Chang-min, and it’s 2-0 as we head to the bottom of the 4th.
2:30 a.m. ET: And we’ve got a home run! Maybe! Na Sung-bum goes yard, and he hits it so high that we’re in a replay review to see if it curled inside the right field foul pole he cleared with his sand wedge ball flight.
After review, the ruling on the field stands, and we’ve got our first run of the game. NC Dinos 1, Samsung Lions 0, Bat Flips 0.
2:25 a.m. ET: It’s the mid-4th in Daegu, and it’s still 0-0 as both Rucinski and J.H. Baek are dealing and looking pretty comfortable.
The biggest thing American fans seem to be noticing about the KBO is the pace of play. It’s so much faster than what you see in MLB. No batters stepping out every pitch, no pitchers taking their time every pitch, no wasted effort. And it’s terrific.
2:08 a.m. ET: A 1-2-3 inning for the Rucinski and the Dinos, and we’re through two innings scoreless in Daegu. But the Doosan Bears and LG Twins have had a bit more offense. It’s 3-1 LG in the fourth inning and we’ve had two home runs with no bat flips.
You’ve got the eyes of the world on you today, KBO. Get the wood flying high!
1:52 a.m. ET: If you’re looking for some non-ESPN KBO action, here’s a link to the Doosan Bears and LG Twins live on Twitch. The broadcast is in Korean, but LG is up 1-0 in the bottom of the third on Opening Day as well.
Meanwhile former Ohio State Buckeye and current NC Dino Drew Rucinski strands a single baserunner, and it’s 0-0 after the first inning of the KBO for the NC Dinos and Samsung Lions.
1:40 a.m. ET: And the first pitch from the Samsung Lions J.H. Baek is low and outside for Ball 1, and we are underway from Daegu! There’s a little buzz and chatter audible as crowd noise, and we’re glad to hear the sounds of the game back again.
An opposite field single to left from Na Sung-bum was the only hit, and a strikeout of the KBO’s best hitter Yang Eui-ji ended the top half of the first inning. It’s 0-0 as the Lions come to the plate.
1:30 a.m. ET: Eric Thames of the Washington Nationals, the 2015 KBO MVP, has been giving an excellent interview about his time playing in Korea. He’s also appeared on the Korean version of The Masked Singer, but sadly we weren’t blessed with a highlight.
But Thames was apparently one of the biggest celebrities in Korea during his three seasons there. His 1.164 OPS and 124 home runs while playing for the NC Dinos was pretty dominant, and it earned him a nice contract from the Milwaukee Brewers to return to MLB.
1:10 a.m. ET: It looks like the players are warming up, and we’re getting ready for “Yagu!” Also a great stall job here by Karl Ravech and Eduardo Perez, which has to be even tougher when you’re doing it from your home office instead of a studio.
12:55 a.m. ET: The LA Times sent a beat reporter! The paper’s Seoul correspondent Victoria Kim is live from the press area for today’s action.
12:45 a.m. ET: A slightly inauspicious start, as it does appear to be raining in Daegu, home of the Samsung Lions today. Let’s hope we can get Opening Day in, but since there will be other games around the KBO happening at the same time, is it possible could get a live look at those during the delay? That would mean even the MLB Whip Around would be back! SPORTS, FRIENDS!
Here's hoping the rain clears up in Daegu. pic.twitter.com/lmrTz9C2z9— Dan Kurtz (@MyKBO) May 5, 2020
12:30 a.m. ET: BASEBALL IS BACK! The KBO begins in just 30 minutes, and we’re here to make it more fun for everyone!
Twitter today has been beyond excited for Opening Day in South Korea, so we’re going to follow along and have some fun.
If you’re not following Dan Kurtz @MyKBO on Twitter, he’s an absolute must for everything Korea Baseball Organization. He’s also been thrust into the spotlight after his hobby of watching and covering the league the last many years is now the largest functional professional sports entity on the planet. He also sent out today’s lineup:
We’re about 30 minutes from the first pitch. Check in here throughout the game!