Jonathan Richie BW.tif

Before last week, I knew nothing about the NC Dinos. But thanks to the global pandemic they are my new favorite Korean baseball team.

The Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) is playing games and they are being broadcast with American announcers on ESPN and I am all in on this as sports have disappeared from my life.

Sports have been on indefinite suspension since March and there is a giant hole in my life.

Any other year of my life I have been able to turn on the TV and watch a baseball game, so now I’m relying on games that air around 1:30 in the morning and then I watch them when I get home from work.

So, after watching three games over the weekend, I consider myself an expert.

How did I choose the NC Dinos or 엔씨 다이노스?

Easy - they have the coolest logo and they were on TV.

The Dinos are based in Changwon, South Korea and are owned by NCSoft – a South Korean video game company. A number of teams in the KBO are owned by large corporations, like the Samsung Lions, KIA Tigers and the reigning champs the Doosan Bears. Doosan is a corporate holding company with subsidiaries in construction, engineering and robotics.

The rules in the KBO League are almost identical to Major League Baseball, however, the designated hitter is universal for all teams and games end in a tie after 12 innings.

As a baseball purist, I am not a big fan of games after the 12th inning being a tie, but I’m also not a huge fan of games lasting 23 innings and ending with a score of 2-1.

South Korea has won three little league world series championships. The nation has been fascinated with baseball for decades, it started with American missionaries bringing the game to the peninsula in the late 1800s, then flourished after the Korean War and in 1982 the country started their first organized baseball league.

Commentators have said attending KBO games are similar to attending rock concerts because of the noise generated at the games.

The games that I have seen have had no fans, but cheers have been pumped in through the stadium sound system and cardboard cutouts of fans were placed in the seats behind home plate.

I’m picking the Dinos to win the KBO Korean Series this year.

And finally, the German soccer league, Bundesliga, is returning to action this weekend with no fans. For that league I’m going to follow Borussia Mönchengladbach (pronounced – munchen-glad-back) back because the name sounds cool – and it only took me watching six YouTube videos to know how to say it correctly.