Tight race at top of KBO
It’s close at the top of the table as the nation’s eight professional baseball teams doggedly compete without any certainty as to who will ultimately triumph. And the suspense is fueling record-high attendances for the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO).
Since the Nexen Heroes kicked off the season with a 6-2 victory over the Doosan Bears on April 7, only the Samsung Lions, Kia Tigers and Hanwha Eagles have failed to lead the league, although no team has successfully been able to stay there for more than two weeks.
As of Monday, the SK Wyverns were in first with 21 wins, 1 draw, and 16 losses but the Lotte Giants and the Heroes are only half and one game behind respectively. The Tigers, Bears, and LG Twins are all two and a half games off the pace. Although the Eagles are at the bottom, seven games behind the Wyverns, they could still salvage their season, especially if they can maintain their momentum, having won on their last three outings.
Missing strong players has apparently made the league more interesting, leaving the title up for grabs and in everyone’s reach. For the last two seasons, the Wyverns in 2010 and the Lions in 2011 took a clear lead with a winning rate of more than 0.6. SK’s current record is .568.
Underdogs like the Lions and Heroes have produced better performances than anticipated. Nexen have swept aside predictions of a poor season based on them being, ranked seventh and eighth in their last two campaigns. They led the pack at one stage on the back of an eight-game winning streak, the momentum broken by a loss against the Twins on Thursday.
Baseball fever is gripping the country, attracting large numbers of fans to every game. Having surpassed 2 million visitors in the shortest time frame on May 18, after just 126 games, the KBO has so far welcomed 2,495,492 people to the stadiums with many more likely as the season hots up.