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Korean baseball could return by early May

LG Twins Intra-Squad Practice Game Goes On Livestreaming For Fans

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - APRIL 05: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) LG Twins team players practice ahead of their intra-team game to be broadcasted online for their fans at a empty Jamshil baseball stadium as South Koreans take measures to protect themselves against the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) on April 05, 2020 in Seoul, South Korea. South Korea has called for expanded public participation in social distancing, as the country witnesses a wave of community spread and imported infections leading to a resurgence in new cases of COVID-19. According to the Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday, 81 new cases were reported. The total number of infections in the nation tallies at 10,237. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

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Two days ago I linked a story about the precautions the Korean Baseball Organization is taking in order to bring the game back. Today we have something approaching a set date range for that return. Here’s what KBO secretary general Ryu Dae-hwan said after a meeting with club general managers in Seoul today:

“If the situation continues to improve from here and on, teams will start facing each other in preseason games beginning on April 21, and we should be able to get the regular season started in early May”

This schedule is dictated by conditions on the ground, and those conditions are trending in a positive direction. The Associated Press reports that today South Korea recorded 53 new infections, marking the third consecutive day that has seen new cases around the 50-mark. This is down from a February 29 peak of 900. If the league does get going on Ryu’s timetable, it could still play a full 144-game schedule.

The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the United States and the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in South Korea occurred on the same day. South Korea’s containment of the pandemic has been far more effective than the United States’ for numerous reasons, some of which are detailed here, here, and here.

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