South Korea has become one of the most successful Baseball countries in Asia and in the Baseball world… Already 3 players made the jump directly to the Major leagues coming from the posting system at just the span of 3 years, Dodgers Ryu Hyun-jin back in 2013, Pirates Kang Jung-ho last year, and now it’s Twins Park Byung-ho this year. Following a successful run in the 2006 WBC in which the South Korean team finished 3rd in the tourney, winning the Beijing olympics gold medal back in 2008, finishing second place and having the silver medal in the final game of the 2009 WBC, and lastly… Winning this years gold medal in the Inaugural Premier 12 tournament… The game’s popularity (or as they call, “Yagu”) is now at the highest peak in the country, with Baseball even overtaking soccer as the most popular and spectated sport. Not only does Chris Park want South Korea to host some World Baseball Classic games in the country, but he also wants the MLB to open some of it’s regular season games or exhibition games in the future… Baseball fans in the country also supports the idea, and be ready to expect booming TV ratings and sell-outs when MLB gives a green light to play in their home soil… 36 year old Park, is the MLB’s senior vice president of growth, strategy and international, he also gave a presentation on MLB’s growth strategy over the past two decades, following its latest work stoppage in 1994.
“Commissioner Rob Manfred also would love to see all of those things… Details about whether we can make it happen and when obviously depend a lot on things that are really outside of our control. There are other world class facilities going up in some other countries that are looking to host WBC rounds. So there’s pretty stiff competition. I’d certainly be rooting for us to be able to stage a round or some kind of a significant event here soon.” Park’s statement regarding about South Korea hosting WBC games in the video.
“We don’t think it’s smart to just impose who we are in different parts of the world. In non-traditional places, people don’t really know about baseball. Our view is to try to do two things at once: first, to have a media strategy and to be able to distribute our games and products across communities. Two, we also want to be on the ground and be grassroots partners in not just finding great professional players but introducing boys and girls to our sport.” He stated… He also added that there’s a possibility that the MLB would/might open an international office in the country’s capital (Seoul) though the date isn’t known yet, for now.
He also attended some KBO league games this year especially this years 2015 Korean Series where the Doosan played against the Samsung Lions at Jamsil stadium, here’s what he stated…”The experience is, in many positive ways, very different from not only MLB stadiums but almost any American sports stadiums. There was spontaneous expression of enthusiasm from the fans. There’s a lot that we can learn from all KBO teams.”
(Here’s a little video for you guys on how the fans in the KBO cheer for their respective team via Bearspotv, you will definitely love this one. Enjoy!)