NC Dinos to enter first division

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NC Dinos to enter first division

The Korea Baseball Organization yesterday gave the green light for the NC Dinos to join the first division in the 2013 season, but did not decide whether a 10th ball club will be established.

At the Baseball Hall in southern Seoul, KBO Commissioner Koo Bon-neung and representatives from the nine teams, including the Dinos, held a fourth board meeting and approved the newly founded Dinos to join the first division next year.

The Dinos, based in Changwon, South Gyeongsang, became the KBO’s ninth professional team last March and were originally scheduled to join the first division in 2014.

However, with preparations and other facilities completed faster than expected, the club has been asking the KBO to grant early admission to the first division.

The Dinos hired former Doosan Bears manager Kim Kyung-moon last summer and are currently competing in the Futures’ League, the minor league of the KBO.

At the board meeting, there was only one dissenting vote, while the other eight approved the Dinos to join the first division.

Sources said the Lotte Giants, based in Busan, just some 50 kilometers (31 miles) east of Changwon, voted against the decision.

Jang Byung-su, the president of the Giants, has been publicly expressing that the Dinos are not ready to join the first division and previously opposed the idea of expanding the league, saying it will plunge the performance level of the league.

The KBO said that the plan to provide players for the Dinos will be discussed at a future executive committee meeting where general managers of each club will meet.

But while issues for the Dinos have been settled, the discussion of founding a 10th club has been postponed until the next board meeting.

“In the long term, it will be better for the league to operated with 10 ball clubs, but the board thought it was too early to discuss a 10-club league,” KBO Secretary General Yang Hae-young said.

“There could be many problems if the process of founding the 10th club goes too fast, so board members wanted this issue to be discussed very cautiously.”

Currently, Suwon, Gyeonggi and North Jeolla have sent a proposal to the KBO that they want to have the 10th baseball club in their region. It is reported that they are trying to find a company to sponsor their plans.

Pundits have claimed that the 10th club should be established as soon as possible since the league will be running with an odd number of clubs. They are insisting that the 10th club be formed no later than 2014.

Under a nine-club system in the KBO, one club might have to be left out every week since eight clubs have to play four games. In fact, there can be scheduling problems where one club rests for four days.

For this problem to be solved, groups such as the Korea Professional Baseball Players Association, the Korea Baseball Association and the Ilgoo Club, whose members include 300 former baseball players and coaches, have publicly urged the KBO to approve the establishment of the 10th club.

By Joo Kyung-don [kjoo@joongang.co.kr]

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