KBO Postseason begins Monday with stadiums fully reopen
Updated: 2021-11-01 17:15:20 KST
Time now for "This Week in Sports" and so joining us in the studio is our sports editor Paul Neat.
Paul, the eased virus restrictions began to take effect today and there's been some changes to the social distancing measures which mean that baseball stadiums can fully reopen.
What can you tell us about that?
That's right, the news all KBO fans will have been waiting for, I'm sure.
KBO announced on Friday that it will fully reopen stadiums for vaccinated fans… in time for the postseason which starts this week.
Fully vaccinated fans will be able to eat and drink from their seats in open-air stadiums, something they haven't been able to do since the start of the pandemic.
The league had a choice of operating stadiums at 50 percent capacity with designated areas for the vaccinated.
Instead, it decided to turn ballparks into "vaccinated-only" zones to ensure safety at all venues.
KBO will make exceptions for people under 18, as vaccinations for that age group only began a couple of weeks ago.
Those who haven't been vaccinated for medical reasons must provide a doctor's note.
They must also have tested negative for the virus within 48 hours of the game they're attending.
And the postseason has already begun, starting with the Wildcard game tonight.
Yes, that's right. Doosan Bears who finished fourth versus Kiwoom Heroes in fifth got underway at 6:30 at Jamsil Baseball Stadium.
The Wildcard is all-or-nothing for the fifth-place team, meaning anything less than a win and they are out.
A win takes them into a second game which they also have to win but no fifth-place team has ever progressed beyond the Wildcard.
Following the Wildcard, the first round of the playoffs will begin as a three-game series at the home of the third-place team on November fourth.
Meanwhile, KT Wiz on Sunday became the regular-season winners after a tie-breaker against Samsung Lions.
The win puts KT into the Korean Series for the first time in the club's short history.
A tiebreaker was needed after the regular season ended on Saturday with KT Wiz and Samsung Lions level on 76 wins, 59 losses and nine ties for a 0.563 winning percentage.
KT's 22-year-old starlet Kang Baek-ho provided the RBI single in the sixth inning that won it for the Wiz, with starter William Cuevas throwing seven shutout innings.
The Lions get a bye to the second round of the playoffs while the LG Twins, who finished in third place, will advance straight to the first round of the playoffs.
For 2020 champions NC Dinos, they finished seventh to become the first team since Kia Tigers in 2010 to fail to make the postseason the year following a Korean Series win.
Switching to football, South Korea's U23 on Sunday qualified for the under-23 AFC Asian Cup.
What did they do to seal qualification?
A 5-1 win over Singapore on Sunday night made it three wins in the space of a week and sealed qualification for Korea.
Last Monday they beat the Philippines 3-0 before comfortably dispatching Timor-Leste 6-0 on Thursday.
Park Jeong-in of Busan IPark is the qualification round top scorer with five goals.
The matches were the first with Hwang Sun-hong at the helm following the departure of Kim Hak-bum who had led the team since the Asian Games in 2018 through to the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
A total of 16 teams qualify including host nation Uzbekistan.
The tournament was originally going to be held in January 2022, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and rescheduled to June 2022.
Meanwhile, the full national team are in action later this month.
Accordingly, Paulo Bento named his 25-man squad earlier today.
Hwang Ui-jo is out due to a hamstring injury and is replaced by Suwon Bluewings striker Kim Gun-hee who is called up for the first time.
But there is still no place for Lee Kang-in.
Korea take on the UAE at home on November 11th and Iraq in Qatar on November 16th.
And finally, at Euro 2020 this summer, Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen collapsed during his team's first match, putting his entire career in jeopardy.
I understand that there has been an update?
Yes, it's bad news for Eriksen and fans of his current club Inter Milan.
Inter released a statement at the end of last week to say that Eriksen is not permitted to play in Italy this season.
The 29-year-old was fitted with a defibrillator and so, under Italian FA rules, is not allowed to play.
A member of the Italian Football Federation's technical scientific committee said in August that Eriksen will not be allowed to play in Italy unless the ICD device is removed.
Inter also said Eriksen could be allowed to continue his career abroad this season.
Thank-you for that round-up, Paul. See you next week.