Suwon officials push KBO for quick decision

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Suwon officials push KBO for quick decision

The city of Suwon yesterday urged the Korea Baseball Organization to quickly approve the establishment of a 10th ball club, saying the time is right to expand the number of teams.

“If a 10th team is denied, it will not be good baseball,” the city government said in a statement. “This is the ideal time to found a 10th ball club.”

At the KBO’s board meeting last month, the league gave a green light to the NC Dinos, the newest ball club based in Changwon, South Gyeongsang, to join the first division next year. The Dinos currently play in the Futures’ League, the minor league of the KBO.

Many fans and pundits have insisted that the 10th ball club should be added as soon as possible because an odd number of teams would create scheduling difficulties. One club might have four days off while the other eight clubs play each other.

At the May board meeting, the KBO decided not to discuss the topic, saying there are too many things to consider.

However, at Tuesday’s board meeting, KBO commissioner Koo Bon-neung and representatives from the nine baseball clubs finally talked about the possibility of adding a 10th team. The KBO said a decision will likely come at a special board meeting next week scheduled to consider the issue.

“The KBO will have a temporary board meeting next week to make a decision,” KBO Secretary General Yang Hae-young said on Tuesday. “To reach a final conclusion, we may have to hold a vote.”

Yang has confirmed that both the city of Suwon, in Gyeonggi, and North Jeolla province, which contains the cities Jeonju, Gunsan and Iksan, are interested in having ball clubs.

Both candidate regions have been working with corporations to establish a baseball club. It is reported that Suwon is negotiating with telecommunication giant KT, while North Jeolla is is having discussions with Harim, Korea’s largest poultry producer.

To gain approval in the board meeting, at least two-thirds of the board members must be present and vote in favor of the decision.

However, since some existing clubs have expressed their opposition to expanding to a 10th baseball club at the present time, it is not clear whether the plan could be approved in the special board meeting next week.
The Lotte Giants, Samsung Lions and Hanwha Eagles are reportedly among the teams reluctant to add another club.

But Suwon, a city located about 46 kilometers (28 miles) south of Seoul, said the KBO should make their decision no later than this month and allow a 10th baseball club to be established for the sake of baseball fans and the league.

“If opposition from some clubs continues, the idea of founding a new baseball club will lose energy among local and regional governments and the companies. Those who wish to have a baseball team will lose their motivation,” the city said. “If the issue is not finalized in this month, the 10th ball club will not able to compete in the KBO in 2014.”

The primary reason why many are insisting that the 10th club should be established early is there is not much time left before next year’s rookie draft on August 20.

“If the 10th baseball club can’t participate in the KBO’s rookie draft in August, there will arise the problem of supplying players to the new ball club,” Suwon government stated. “If the problem occurs, the new club will not able to join the Futures’ League next year and probably the 10th club will join the KBO after 2015.”

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

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