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The KBO announced its 2021 regular season schedule Wednesday.
The KBO said the new season will begin on April 3, with the 10 clubs each playing 144 games.
Teams can launch their spring training sessions anytime after Feb. 1.
The opener of the Futures League, the KBO's minor league, will be held on April 6, to lead a total of 605 games.
The 2020 season was originally scheduled to kick off on March 28, but it was pushed back to May 5 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
2 nat'l baseball team players stuck in KBO minor league with Olympics fast approaching
All News 10:23 June 25, 2021
SEOUL, June 25 (Yonhap) -- With the start of the Tokyo Olympics about a month away, two key members of the South Korean baseball team are toiling in the minor league -- one sent down to rediscover his stroke and the other exiled for disciplinary reasons.
A roster that already had a few question marks when it was announced on June 16 will be scrutinized even more in the coming days, as long as second baseman Park Min-woo and outfielder Park Kun-woo remain out of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) spotlight.
The NC Dinos sent Park Min-woo to their Futures League affiliate last Friday, when the usually reliable hitter was stuck at a .257 batting average through 46 games. He had a lifetime .330 batting average entering this season and had batted at least .300 every year since 2015.
Park had been getting on base at a .404 clip in his eight previous seasons. In 2021, the on-base percentage dropped to .351, his lowest for a full season.
The 28-year-old looked just like his normal self in April, when he batted .314 with a .407 on-base percentage. He slumped to a .254 average in May and then a .204 mark in June before the demotion. Park never hit below .300 in any month in 2020.
NC manager Lee Dong-wook said Park had looked lost at the plate. Park spent a few days near the end of April on the injured list after his car got rear-ended. He didn't suffer any injury then, but he hasn't been the same player since.
Park has played three games since his demotion, and is batting 4-for-14 with two RBIs and two steals. Lee watched Park in action Tuesday and noted that Park still didn't have his timing down at the plate.
The national team manager Kim Kyung-moon picked Park as the regular second baseman who can bat near the top of the lineup. Park has also been a strong defender. But Kim's assertion that he assembled the team based on players' current form rings hollow, given Park's mediocre season and a career-best campaign by the 21-year-old second baseman Jung Eun-won.
Jung is leading all second baseman this season in wins above replacement (WAR) with 3.00, more than two full wins ahead of Park. Jung is batting .297 with a .432 on-base percentage, tops among all second basemen. The only apparent edge that Park has over Jung is his international experience, as Park has played at the 2018 Asian Games and the 2019 Premier12, which doubled as the Olympic qualifying tournament.
The other second baseman on the national team, Choi Joo-hwan of the SSG Landers, is a bat-first type player who can bring pop off the bench but can't be trusted with his defense in a tight game.
If Park doesn't get his act together soon, Kim may be forced to make a last-minute change.
Kim has another potential headache in the outfield. Park Kun-woo of the Doosan Bears was shipped to the Futures League on Tuesday for what his manager, Kim Tae-hyoung, implied were disciplinary reasons.
Park had told Kim that he was fatigued and wanted to take some time off. Hours after the demotion Tuesday, Kim said, "I told him he could go rest as much as he wants in the minor league."
At the time of his demotion, Park was fifth in the KBO with a .333 batting average this season and 12th with a .404 on-base percentage. He has batted .300 or better in every season since 2015. No KBO player has hit more doubles than Park's 180 since 2016, the year that he became an everyday player.
The 30-year-old has handled center field and right field this year. As the only right-handed bat among four outfielders on the national team, he was expected to get regular action in Tokyo.
But Kim Tae-hyoung wasn't concerned about any of that. His focus was on making sure his own players competed with the right mindset and on not allowing one player, even if it's an All-Star like Park, to become the bad apple.
The no-nonsense skipper has always had a low tolerance for players' complaints about fatigue not related to any injury. On Thursday, Kim said Park acted selfishly and affected the morale of the team.
"We're all in the same boat here, and we all have our own set of challenges," Kim said. "Regular guys must not take their playing time for granted. If those guys say they're tired, do you think backups would feel sorry for them? As manager, I am not going to go around and tell coaches that I am stressed out. It's not going to resonate with them at all."
A player demoted to the Futures League must spend a minimum 10 days there. Kim said there's no timetable for Park's return, and he'll only start thinking about that once the required 10 days are up.
KBO Futures League
Korean second-tier baseball league
Not to be confused with Futures League.
KBO Futures League (Korean: KBO 퓨처스리그) or Korea Baseball Futures League is South Korea's second level of baseball, below the KBO League. It serves as a farm league with the purpose to develop professional players on-demand to play in the KBO League. The league consists of two divisions — the Southern League and the Northern League. These leagues are governed by the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO). The league plays an 80-game season.
Most of the Korean minor league teams carry the same name, and use the same uniforms, as their parent team.
The KBO League was founded in 1982, with the second-tier league being founded in 1990. The initial roster of seven teams in the 1990 season was:
The Ssangbangwool Raiders played the initial season in the Futures League; the team moved up to the KBO League in 1991 (although it left behind its minor-league team as well). The Raiders franchise was dissolved after the 1999 season.
The SK Wyverns added a minor-league franchise in 2001, playing their home games at SK Dream Park in the Nam District of Incheon.
Two unaffiliated teams joined the minor leagues in 2005: the Korean Police Baseball Team, operated by the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, and the Sangmu Phoenix, part of the Korea Armed Forces Athletic Corps. Many KBO League players serving compulsory military service opted to play for the Police and Sangmu teams, usually for a term of two seasons.
The Hyundai Unicorns (formerly the Pacific Dolphins) — both the KBO League team and the second-tier team — were dissolved after the 2007 season.
The minor league's name was changed to the "Futures League" in 2008. That same year the Hwaseong Heroes joined the league.
In 2012, two teams based in Goyang joined the Futures League: the Goyang Dinos and the Goyang Wonders. (The Wonders' games were considered unofficially "friendly" contests.) Now with 11 teams, the Futures League divided into two divisions: the Northern League and the Southern League. A "Freedom Division" was also created for the Dinos and the Wonders. The Dinos only played the one season in the Futures League before being elevated to the KBO League — as the NC Dinos — prior to the 2013 season.
Also in 2012, the third-level squad of Nippon Professional Baseball's Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, began playing 12 games a year against Futures League teams.
The Suwon KT Wiz started out in 2013 as a Futures League team and played with Goyang Wonders in the Freedom Division; after two seasons the Wiz were elevated to the KBO (as the KT Wiz) in 2015. (The Goyang Wonders, meanwhile, were dissolved after the 2014 season.)
In 2015, the Futures League reorganized into three divisions: the Red League (Goyang Dinos, Hanwha Eagles, Hwaseong Heroes, SK Wyverns), the Blue League (Doosan Bears, LG Twins, Police, Suwon KT Wiz), and the Yellow League (Kia Tigers, Lotte Giants, Samsung Lions, Sangmu Phoenix). The 2015 Blue League champion was the Police Baseball Team; the Red League champion was the Goyang Dinos; and the Yellow League champion was the Sangmu Phoenix.
The league returned to the Northern and Southern League divisions in 2016.
The Sangmu Phoenix were champions of the Southern League in 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019; the Police baseball team was the champion of the Northern League in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2018. The Police team was disbanded after the 2019 Futures League season.
- ^ Unaffiliated with a KBO League team.
- ^The third level squad of the Japanese Baseball Club.
- ^"KBO 실행위 결과 발표, "퓨처스리그 3개로 확대"". sports.news.naver.com.
- ^ abcFast, Alex. "So You Want To Get Into The KBO: The Pitcher List staff brings you the definitive guide to the KBO,"Pitcher List (May 2020).
- ^KIM HYO-KYUNG, PARK SO-YOUNG. "Military service looms over KBO,"Korea JoongAng Daily (April 16, 2019).
- ^ abNam Hyun-woo. "Independent baseball club disbanded,"The Korea Times (2014-09-11).
- ^ ab"PARTICIPATING FRANCHISES IN THE KBO FUTURES LEAGUE," Baseball in Korea (January 19, 2014).
- ^Kim Hyo-Kyung. "Woop-woop! That’s the sound of da Police Team disbanding,"Korea JoongAng Daily (July 5, 2019).
League kbo futures
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