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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.

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Kevin McCarthy's rude awakening

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Kevin McCarthy is learning you can get torched when you try to make everyone happy, especially after an insurrection.

Why it matters: The House Republican leader had been hoping to use this year to build toward taking the majority in 2022, but his efforts to bridge intra-party divisiveness over the Capitol siege have him taking heat from every direction, eroding his stature both with the public and within his party.