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Logos: KBO; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) season began late Monday night, and with ESPN set to air six live games each week, it's time we get to know what this league, which began in 1982, is all about.

The state of play: In the world baseball hierarchy, talent evaluators rank the KBO beneath MLB, NPB (Japan) and AAA (MiLB), but above AA, High A, CPBL (Taiwan) and Low A.

  • Format: There are 10 teams but no divisions, with teams facing off 16 times each for a 144-game regular season.
  • Playoffs: The fourth- and fifth-place teams face off in a Wild Card round, with the winner advancing to play the third-place team (best-of-five series). The winner of that then faces the second-place team in the semifinals (best-of-five). Finally, the semifinal winner faces the regular season champion in the Korean Series (best-of-seven). Translation: Winning the regular season is huge.
  • Fun fact: While traditionalists in MLB still gripe about bat flips, they're an expected and respected part of the Korean game. Please enjoy.

The teams:

1. Doosan Bears (reigning champs)

  • Year established: 1982
  • City: Seoul
  • Korean Series: 6 championships, 7 runners-up
  • MLB comparison → Yankees (very successful, located in largest city)

2. Hanwha Eagles

  • Year established: 1985
  • City: Daejeon
  • Korean Series: 1 championship, 5 runners-up
  • MLB comparison → Orioles (currently rebuilding, beautiful ballpark)

3. Kia Tigers

  • Year established: 1982
  • City: Gwangju
  • Korean Series: 11 championships, 0 runners-up (Jordan-esque!)
  • MLB comparison → Cardinals (storied franchise, white and red color scheme)

4. Kiwoom Heroes

  • Year established: 2008
  • City: Seoul
  • Korean Series: 0 championships, 2 runners-up
  • MLB comparison → Rays (low payroll, roofed stadium)

5. KT Wiz

  • Year established: 2013
  • City: Suwon
  • Korean Series: N/A
  • MLB comparison → Padres (expansion team, no titles, larger city to the north)

6. LG Twins

  • Year established: 1982
  • City: Seoul
  • Korean Series: 2 championships, 4 runners-up
  • MLB comparison → Angels/Mets (second most popular team in big city)

7. Lotte Giants

  • Year established: 1975
  • City: Busan
  • Korean Series: 2 championships, 3 runners-up
  • MLB comparison → Cubs (rich history, strong fan support, not as successful as you'd expect)

8. NC Dinos

  • Year established: 2011
  • City: Changwon
  • Korean Series: 0 championships, 1 runner-up
  • MLB comparison → Brewers (Eric Thames played for both, on the rise)

9. Samsung Lions

  • Year established: 1982
  • City: Daegu
  • Korean Series: 8 championships, 10 runners-up
  • MLB comparison → Giants (won most titles last decade, struggling lately)

10. SK Wyverns

  • Year established: 2000
  • City: Incheon
  • Korean Series: 4 championships, 4 runners-up
  • MLB comparison → Red Sox (perennial contenders, lost biggest star in offseason)

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Aug 5, 2020 - Sports

NCAA Division II and Division III cancel fall championships due to pandemic

Photo: Tim Nwachukwu/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The NCAA's Division II and Division III fall championships have been canceled due to financial and logistical complications caused by the coronavirus pandemic, ESPN reports.

The state of play: The decision to call off the fall championships comes after the NCAA board of governors told each division to decide for themselves whether they planned to move forward with the competitions. The cancellations impact football, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's cross country, field hockey, women's volleyball and men's water polo.

Republican-led Pennsylvania court deems mail-in voting law unconstitutional

Workers count ballots for the 2020 Presidential election at the Philadelphia Convention Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Nov. 3, 2020. Photo: Hannah Yoon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Republican-led Pennsylvania court on Friday ruled that the state's mail-in voting law is unconstitutional.

Driving the news: Three Republican judges sided with Republican challengers and ruled that no-excuse mail-in voting is prohibited under the state's constitution. Two Democrats on the panel dissented.

29 mins ago - World

China's ambassador warns Taiwan could spark "military conflict" with U.S.

Photo: Liu Jie/Xinhua via Getty Images

China's ambassador to the U.S. warned in a rare interview with NPR that if Taiwanese authorities "keep going down the road for independence," it would "most likely" lead to a "military conflict" between the U.S. and China.

Why it matters: Chinese officials rarely speak in such blunt terms, but veteran diplomat Qin Gang was unequivocal: "The Taiwan issue is the biggest tinderbox between China and the United States."