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KBO will get an early start to allow for Asian Games

Jan 05,2018
Korean baseball fans can look out for their favorite teams one week earlier than usual this year. The 2018 Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) season will officially begin on March 24 with a break in mid-August, announced the KBO on Thursday.

The regular season normally starts in the last week of March or the first week of April - in 2016, the season kicked off on April 1, while last year it began on March 31.

But this year the KBO had to take into account the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games in Indonesia - from Aug. 18 to Sept. 2.

Since the Korean national baseball team will mainly consist of KBO players for this year’s 18th Asian Games, players would have struggled with conflicting schedules if the KBO had followed the usual calendar.

The league’s regular season will take a break from Aug. 16 to Sept. 3 for the games.

The KBO made similar adjustments when the 2014 Asian Games took place in Incheon from Sept. 15 to Sept. 30.

Mirroring last season, each team will play 144 games, facing each other 16 times - eight home games and eight away games - a total of 720 matches.

Following the rules, which call for the opening games to be played in the home stadiums of the top five teams from the 2016 season, this year’s opening games will take place in: Jamsil Baseball Stadium, Incheon Munhak Stadium, Gwangju Champions Field, Gocheok Sky Dome and Changwon Baseball Stadium. It will be the first time since 2015, that the season openers have taken place on a Saturday.

Though the Twins placed fourth in 2016, they will play in the Wyverns’ home stadium because the Bears, who share Jamsil Baseball Stadium with the Twins, won the championship that year. SK Wyverns placed sixth in the 2016 season.

The All-Star Game is expected to be held on July 14, but the time and location have yet to be announced.

BY KIM HYO-KYUNG [song.hankyul@joongang.co.kr]