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Fan starts English Web site for Korea Baseball Organization

June 27,2007
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Dan Kurtz operates a Web site (www.mykbo.net) with English information on Korean baseball. By Yoo Jee-ho
Next time you visit the Korea Baseball Organization’s Web site, try clicking English in the top right corner. It directs viewers to the brief history of baseball in Korea and the KBO’s organizational chart, among other things.
For years, Dan Kurtz, a Korean-born adoptee living in Pennsylvania, was among the frustrated English-speaking fans of Korean baseball. Unlike others, though, he decided to do something about it ― he opened a Web site with English information on Korean baseball.
His www.mykbo.net site was launched in late 2003. It may not be as comprehensive as U.S. sports Web sites, but it does offer standings and statistics in English, and it allows registered members ― there are no membership dues ― to post messages and have discussions on Korean baseball. Kurtz also provides updates on foreign players in the Korean league.
“As a big fan of sports, I became very interested in the KBO during my time in Korea, and I wanted to follow it closely,” Kurtz said. “But due to the lack of English information, I just decided to make my own forum and provide as much information as I can.”
A graduate student of Millersville University in Pennsylvania, Kurtz got hooked on Korean baseball while enrolled at Yonsei University’s international program from 2000 to 2001. His first Korean baseball experience was a Doosan Bears-LG Twins game in southern Seoul’s Jamsil Stadium. The Bears have since been Kurtz’s favorite team.
From August 2003, Kurtz spent about year and a half teaching English at a hagwon, and he became a regular at Jamsil Stadium.
But keeping up with the Bears and the league for his not-for-profit Web site ― he tries to update statistics once a week ― hasn’t been easy.
“My Korean skills are elementary,” said Kurtz, who uses English and Korean newspapers as his source. “So I am able to do the basic translating of stats and news, but am unable to translate news stories from the sports dailies.”
His Web site came in handy for U.S. journalists during last year’s World Baseball Classic. Korea surprised many people by reaching the semifinals after beating the United States and eventual champion Japan in the preliminary round. Kurtz was contacted by a few U.S. journalists, including ESPN.com’s Paul Lukas, who wanted to learn more about the Korean team.
“It seemed as though all the teams in the tournament had lots of information in English available to the media, except for Korea,” Kurtz said. “I think that if the KBO were to market itself a bit more in English, more people would recognize the KBO on an international level.”
Kurtz tried to contact KBO officials regarding English information, but got no response. The Sports Corp., which runs the KBO Web site and provides official statistics, told Kurtz it would cost “thousands of dollars, not won” to make Korean baseball statistics available in English.
“MLB.com provides the stats in Korean, Chinese, Japanese and Spanish, free to consumers,” Kurtz said.
When not pursuing his graduate studies or gathering stats for his Web site, Kurtz skis and travels. He has come to Korea about once a year over the past five years, and he and his wife plan a 10-day trip to Korea this August.
“I am looking forward to getting out to Jamsil as many times as possible,” Kurtz said. “I also hope to be able to purchase a lot of KBO merchandise.”


By Yoo Jee-ho Staff Writer [jeeho@joongang.co.kr]