Player union pushing for league expansion
By Kang Seung-woo
The union of Korean baseball players said Monday it wants the sport’s governing body to approve the promotion of NC Dinos to become the ninth club in the first-tier league and to promote the setting-up of a 10th club.
In a strategic move, the players are set to boycott the World Baseball Classic (WBC) without the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO)’s compliance.
“The Korea Professional Baseball Players Association (KPBPA) is calling on the KBO to approve the NC Dinos’ entry to the first-tier division in 2013 along with the establishment of a 10th team,” the union said in a statement.
The KBO’s board is to meet today to discuss these issues.
The Changwon-based Dinos, currently part of the KBO’s second division, was founded in 2011 with the intention to join the first-tier league in 2013, but a few clubs including the Lotte Giants and Samsung Lions are opposing the Dinos’s entry to the first-team division as well as a new 10th club, claiming a 10-team system would not work, according to the KPBPA. In response the teams have been labeled, “selfish.”
According to the players’ union, headed by SK Wyverns’ Park Jae-hong, those who are against the 10-team league reason that the double-digit team will result in a shortage of stadiums and cause underperformance in games.
“When it comes to the stadium issue, it can be solved by taking advantage of government funding from the revised National Sports Promotion Act and local governments’ active efforts to draw a baseball club,” it said.
The KPBPA added that games can be raised by supporting youth programs over the long term as well as using imported players in the short run.
In addition, the Dinos players do not fall short of standards.
The union said that it will not participate in international competitions as long as the governing organization does not properly deliberate over the issues.
“It is ironic that representing the nation at international events including the WBC (and proving how developed Korean baseball is) should be important although there is no progress in improving local baseball league,” it said.