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Korean pro baseball starts season; games to air on ESPN Updated: 2020-05-06 10:05:56 KST

On Children's Day, South Korea's baseball league, the KBO, started its new season, but it wasn't your usual raucous occasion of thousands of fans cheering on their favorite players.
Due to the no spectator rules, teams attached pictures of fans to the eerily empty seats.
The cheerleaders are here, but fans can only connect with them virtually.
To mimic the usual scene as much as possible, there are skype sessions between the fans and the cheerleading squad.
Even though it's been many months, the fans still remember all the dance moves.

"We prepared shows to engage with the fans by cheer leading as much as possible while providing the usual ball game."

And that's the way it will have to be until it's safer.
In the meantime, the league has put rules in place to keep the players from being exposed to COVID-19 so the season can go on.
The players have to have their temperatures checked before the games, and they won't be allowed to chew tobacco, spit or high-five each other to celebrate.
And the umpires at first and second base have to wear face masks.

"Outside the stadium, the team will practice social distancing. Until COVID-19 is completely beaten, our managers will instruct the players to put everything into their training and into the game rather than their social lives."

The KBO has good news for sports fans in other countries too.
The American sports broadcaster ESPN has reached a deal with Eclat Media Group, which holds the international broadcasting rights to the KBO.
ESPN will air one live game per day and play highlights throughout its programming.

Though a single case in the league could bring things to a halt again, the KBO says it plans to hold all 144 games of the season by November, as usual, by canceling the all-star weekend and shortening the post season.
Kim Do-yeon, Arirang News
Reporter : tkim@arirang.com
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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