ESPN will air live baseball games from South Korea as the game resumes there amid the coronavirus pandemic. The network on Monday announced an exclusive broadcast agreement with Eclat Media Group.
Elsewhere in Asia, live games in Chinese Professional Baseball League in Taiwan are being streamed on social media
The Uni-Lions didn’t need extra innings to decide their series opener. They pounced to a 12-0 lead before the Guardians plated four runs in the sixth frame. The Uni-Lions increased their lead to 15-4 with three runs in the bottom of the inning. The Guardians scored two runs over the final three innings but couldn’t close the gap.
Chen Pin-Chieh and Hu Chin-Lung each homered for the Guardians. Chen Chieh-Hsien and Lin An-Ko homered for the Uni-Lions in the 15-6 win. The Uni-Lions roughed up former Houston Astros pitcher Henry Sosa, who allowed 11 hits and 10 runs in two innings before he was removed from the game.
Baseball-starved American fans have been attracted to the Taiwanese broadcasts as Major League Baseball remains suspended indefinitely due to the pandemic.
ESPN’s KBO broadcasts will start with the opening day game between the NC Dinos and Samsung Lions at 1 a.m. EDT Tuesday. The network will televise six regular-season games per week.
The games will air Tuesday through Sunday, generally on ESPN2 and on the ESPN app. Tuesday through Friday broadcasts will air at 5:30 a.m. EDT. Saturday broadcasts will air at 4 a.m. Sunday broadcasts will air at 1 a.m.
ESPN’s Karl Ravech, Eduardo Perez, Jon Sciambi, Kyle Peterson and Jessica Mendoza will work as commentators, working remotely from ESPN’s home studio.
The Lions and Dinos will battle on ESPN Tuesday after SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt. ESPN’s agreement with Eclat Media Group includes the post-season and the Korea Series best-of-seven championship.
“We’re thrilled to become the exclusive English-language home to the KBO League and to showcase its compelling action and high-level of competition,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN executive vice president of programming.
“We have a longstanding history of documenting the game of baseball. and we’re excited to deliver these live events to sports fans.”
The KBO features 10 teams with rosters sprinkled with the names of former MLB and Minor League Baseball players.
Each team will plays a 144-game regular season. KBO games can only last up to 12 innings before they result in a tie. The games are usually high-scoring, feature quirky celebrations and an array of mascots.
Weekend in Taiwan featured 19 homers, 110 runs
Baseball bats came alive as Chinese Professional Baseball League hitters combined for 19 home runs and 110 runs scored in two three-game series played without fans over the weekend in Taiwan.
The weekend series included clashes between the Rakuten Monkeys and Chinatrust Brothers and a trio of games between the Fubon Guardians and the Uni-Lions. Rakuten and the Uni-Lions won their respective series, 2-1.
Five players hit multiple home runs in the two series.
Friday’s series opener between the Brothers and Monkeys featured a matchup of former Seattle Mariners pitcher Ariel Miranda (Brothers) and ex-Cincinnati Reds pitcher Lisalverto Bonilla (Monkeys).
The Monkeys took a 3-2 lead into the seventh inning before the Brothers came alive with a four-run spark. The Brothers plated two more runs in the ninth inning before the Monkeys posted five runs in the bottom of the frame to force extra innings. The Brothers plated two more runs in the 12th inning to earn the 10-8 victory.
Su Wei-Ta hit a home run in the third inning for the Brothers. The Brothers first baseman went 2 for 6 with three RBIs in the win.
Saturday’s skirmish between the Brothers and Monkeys featured a combined 37 hits and 27 runs. The Monkeys evened the series with a 16-11 win.
Former New York Yankees pitcher Esmil Rogers started the game for the Brothers but was removed after he allowed nine hits and eight runs in 2.2 innings.
The Brothers entered the bottom of the third inning with a 5-1 lead before things unraveled for Rogers. The right-handed pitcher surrendered seven runs in the half inning and gave an 8-5 lead to the Monkeys.
The Monkeys added another run in the fourth frame before a six-run sixth inning. They took a 16-6 lead into the final frame before the Brothers plated five runs in the top of the ninth inning. Wu Tung-Jung and Chang Chih-Hao homered for the Brothers. Chu Yu-Hsien went 4 for 5 with a home run and 3 RBIs for the Monkeys.
The Guardians crushed the Uni-Lions 11-2 in the second game of their series. Fubon took a 9-0 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning before the Uni-Lions plated their first run.
Fubon scored two more runs in the final frame to add some insurance in the win. Lin Yi-Chuan went 2 for 5 with two home runs and 5 RBIs for the Guardians. Kao Kuo-Lin also homered in the win. Kuo Fu-Lin homered for the Uni-Lions.
Former Texas Rangers pitcher Ryan Feierabend allowed seven hits and four runs in his start for the Uni-Lions.
The Monkeys and Brothers played a close series finale on Sunday before the Monkeys caught fire in the fourth inning of a 9-3 triumph. Monkeys left fielder Lan Yin-Lun sparked the rally with two home runs. Chu Yu-Hsien also homered for the Monkeys. Yueh Tung-Hua homered for the Brothers.
Former Yankees pitcher Jose De Paula allowed 12 hits and eight runs in five innings in his start for the Brothers.
The Uni-Lions appeared to have their game in hand against the Guardians on Sunday before Fubon posted a four-run fourth inning. Chiang Chih-Hsien and Hu Chin-Lung homered for the Guardians. Uni-Lions designated hitter Kuo Fu-Lin hit his second home run of the series in the loss.
Games on deck
The Brothers and Uni-Lions have a two-game series that starts on Tuesday. The first game will stream at 6:35 a.m. EDT Tuesday on Twitter at Twitter.com/ElevenSportsTW. The Monkeys and Guardians face off at 6:35 a.m. EDT Thursday.
The Monkeys play the Brothers in a three-game series that begins at 6:35 a.m. EDT Friday. The Guardians and Uni-Lions also face off in a three game series that starts at 6:35 a.m. Friday.
NC Dinos vs. Samsung Lions: 1 a.m. EDT Tuesday on ESPN; 5:30 a.m. EDT Thursday on ESPN2
Doosan Bears vs. LG Twins: 5:30 a.m. EDT Wednesday on ESPN2
KIA Tigers vs. Samsung Lions: 5:30 a.m. EDT Friday on ESPN2
LG Twins vs. NC Dinos: 4 a.m. EDT Saturday on ESPN2; 1 a.m. EDT Sunday on ESPN2