With baseball officials expected to lift the 12-inning limit on league games, stadium managers may face increased complications in working the scoreboards.
/ Korea Times File
By Kim Tong-hyung
Baseball is all about records and numbers, but a key category could be missing from the stat sheets in 2008.
The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) and team owners are discussing lifting the current 12-inning limit on league games from this season, which would assure draws no longer appear next to the win-loss column.
Baseball officials are also nearing an agreement on a three-week midseason break during the Beijing Olympics in August should South Korea qualify for the tournament.
The plans are contingent for approval in a KBO board meeting to be summoned next Monday, according an official at the league office.
``Owners are agreeing at large on draws and allowing teams to play out to the end for a win," said Jeong Keum-jo, KBO's chief manager of baseball operations.
``The idea of limiting innings was to prevent the games from getting too long, but throughout the 26-year history of the league, only 10 games went beyond 15 innings," he said.
``Lifting the innings limit will surely encourage coaches and players to play with an increased level of intensity in the extra innings, which would benefit the fans paying for the tickets.''
Since its launching in 1982, the Korean professional league had imposed 12-inning or 15-inning limits on games to prevent them from dragging too long. The Japanese baseball league currently has a 12-inning limit, while Major League Baseball (MLB) of the United States doesn't have an inning limit.
The Olympic baseball tournament is scheduled for 12 days, but baseball officials believe that teams would need at least a three-week break considering the time the players need for preparation and recovery.
To ease the complications in schedule, the KBO has opening day set for March 29, about a week earlier than normal.
However, the three-week break depends on South Korea winning a ticket to Beijing in the Olympic qualifiers next month in Taiwan. The eight-nation playoff series stakes three spots in the Olympic tournament, with regional contenders such as Mexico, Canada, Taiwan and Australia assuring a tough competition for the Koreans.
``It would be hard to expect a meaningful level of public interest during the Olympics anyway,'' said Jeong.
``The number of players on the national baseball squad differs from team to team. It would not be fair to let the regular season commence during the Olympics when some teams would be greatly compromised by sending their players to Beijing," he said.