If you haven’t heard, the KBO (Korea Baseball Organization) is looking to begin its four-game preseason schedule through April 27th before kicking off its regular season just a few days later and as early as May 1st.
There are rumors ESPN is talking with KBO leaders to gain overseas rights and there is a hope a deal could be done this week.
ESPN approaches KBO about airing S. Korean baseball games in U.S.: sources https://t.co/zJJGxLI15i— Yonhap News Agency (@YonhapNews) April 14, 2020
I mean, just take a look at this highlight video below from a single game in 2018. Can’t you imagine the level of excitement you could feel at home while watching this live on your own television screen?
For those asking how to watch KBO games outside of Korea. Won't know anything for sure until games begin on April 21st or KBO/ESPN magically announce a deal. Will post once we know more. https://t.co/Ns4dAyBdtd— Dan Kurtz (@MyKBO) April 15, 2020
Okay, the KBO talent is far from what we usually watch on our TVs, but live sports are live sports folks and this got me thinking. If ESPN did cover the KBO I would HAVE to find a team to support, right? I have a hard time just watching a sports league without having a favorite to pull for each week. But, how would I select a team?
Well, I went to South Korea once and spent a majority of my time around the east coast in Pohang. I felt it was natural to find a team from that general area and call them my own. The only problem is that there wasn’t a team from that geographic area so I found myself still without a team.
How would I decide?
Then it hit me. Ya know, sometimes the world is symmetric and throws you the perfect answer.
10 teams in the KBO. 10 FBS conferences.
It made perfect sense. First, we must look at the 2019 KBO standings and see who finished from top to bottom.
Then we must cross-reference that list from the 2019 FBS RPI compliments of RealTimeRPI.com and Boom. While this was the premise for the original matchings the history of these organizations paralleled the conferences in many ways. This process actually created the PERFECT NCAAF-KBO marriage.
Without further ado, find out which team you should cheer for this upcoming KBO season based upon your favorite college football team’s conference.
Buy a hat (if you can read Korean) and take a ride. It is time for the KBO!
SEC - Doosan Bears
The Bears have finished first or second in the KBO since 2015 which just so happens to be the same for the SEC in the CFP over that same time. Congratulations SEC fans, you and Megan Fox are now fans of the Doosan Bears!
Big Ten and Notre Dame - SK Wyverns
Ohio State won the first CFP Championship in 2014 and it is only fitting that the Wyverns won the first Korean Championship of this decade (and haven’t won since). I am not sure what a Wyvern is, but that’s okay because the B1G doesn’t know what the number “ten” means and Notre Dame doesn’t really understand “independent” either.
Big 12 and Army - Kiwoom Heroes
Okay, Kiwoom became Kiwoom just two years ago and they actually spent a majority of their history as the Nexen Heroes and their number one fan was Texas-native Michelle Rodriguez, so it all kinda makes sense here. Throw Army in the mix because, I mean, they are the “Heroes.” Ironically enough, the Big 12 has won the CFP National Championship game just as often as the Heroes have won the Korean Series - zero times.
American Athletic and BYU - LG Twins
Nicky Hilton also goes perfectly with the AAC and BYU as all of them are constantly seeking attention. “Power Six” they yell (and I guess have the RPI support to back that up) and, let’s face it, Nicky is certainly no Paris as she actually has some business success to back up her fame (no shade Star Princess). The LG Twins have had recent success since 2013 making the playoffs more than every other year, which is an incredible turnaround after failing to find the postseason in ten straight seasons (2003-2012).
Pac-12 - NC Dinos
The NC Dinos call the city of Changwon home and nothing screams “West Coast” more in Korea than the city that hosts the K-Pop World Festival every year. The Dinos have had some postseason success in their short nine-year history but they have yet to win the big game (or the Korean series), sound familiar?
ACC, UMass, and UConn - KT Wiz
The newest team in the KBO the Wiz joined the elite Korean baseball league circuit in 2015. It only seemed appropriate to add the newest independent Huskies into the mix and upon further research the Wiz have two former Red Sox players on their roster (Raul Alacantara and William Cuevas); so, enter UMass. The Wiz have yet to make the playoffs but had their best finish ever in 2019 and easily have the coolest logo that appears to mimic the Patriots or the Texans. IDK.
Mountain West - Kia Tigers
Of course you have heard of Boise State and the Mountain West Conference but is it really the team or conference you think of when you talk about the”best” these days? Kia’s are a household name but they aren’t exactly top of the line either. The Tigers do have a storied and successful past as they actually have the most Korean championships out of any team in KBO history with 11, but only two of those have come since 1998. And, uhh, they currently have California-born and West Coast MLB-playing Matt Williams as their current manager - the perfect MWC fit.
Sun Belt - Samsung Lions
Unintentional alliteration is fun which is a match made in heaven for the #FunBelt. The Lions won four straight Korean Series Championships form 2011-2014 which is success unparalleled to anything Sun Belt fans have seen (unless, of course, you are App State who is halfway there right now). The Lions have struggled as of late, failing to meet the playoffs in each of the last four years but are due for an upswing.
Conference USA and Liberty - Hanwha Eagles
What goes together better than chants of “USA,” calls for “Liberty,” and an American Eagle? Not much. The Eagles have made the playoffs just once in the last 12 years so CUSA fans should be ready, willing, and able to accept this underdog role. They do have one Korean Series Championship (1999) which is one more team National Championship than the CUSA has produced in any sport...ever. But, hey, Baekhyun of Korean boy-bad EXO is their number one fan and that should be fun.
MAC and New Mexico State - Lotte Giants
The Giants have struggled as of late, only making the playoffs once in the last seven years and it was a quick exit at the hands of the NC Dinos. The Giants are one of the original KBO teams when it was formed in 1982 and the MAC has some history dating back to 1946. History doesn’t mean success, however, as the Giants only have two championships since its beginning - the worst for any team with that longevity. At least you get to celebrate with Kang Daniel (seen above) of boy-band Wanna One (seen below).
There you have it college football fans. Your guide to KBO baseball. Now let’s hope ESPN gets a contract so we can all start our conference chants!