Dinos stadium decision pleases no one

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Dinos stadium decision pleases no one

The NC Dinos have been embroiled in a conflict with officials of their home city Changwon over the location of their new stadium, raising concerns over how it might affect their debut season in the Korea Baseball Organization.

The problems began last week after the city delayed its decision on a site for a 25,000-seat ballpark, which it promised the KBO it would build within five years when it hosted the Dinos in March 2011. The Dinos, who played in the second-division Futures League last season, have used 16,000-seat Masan Stadium.

On Wednesday, the city surprised many by announcing it will build the new stadium in Jinhae.

In 2010, Changwon (population 500,000), Masan (410,000) and Jinhae (160,000) were merged into the present-day city.

The Dinos wanted the stadium to be built in the former Changwon or Masan as they are the most accessible locations for fans and teams.

“The decision passes inconveniences on those excluded from the decision-making process,” the team said in a statement.

The Dinos criticized the city for considering only “political interests” in the decision. There have been power struggles among the three former entities, in particular between Changwon and Masan.

“It would have been nice of Changwon city to make efforts to persuade us to go to Jinhae,” said NC Dinos CEO Lee Tae-il.

NC Soft, the online-game developer that owns the club, has put more than 70 billion won ($64.3 billion) into the Dinos in the past two years.

NC Dinos players, who are currently training in Arizona, also expressed disappointment.

“We players thought that the issue of the new baseball stadium would be resolved easily,” said the captain of the team, Lee Ho-joon. “We have sweated it out, only thinking about baseball over the past two years.”

The KBO also expressed disappointment at the city’s decision, demanding an explanation of why Jinhae was selected as the venue. Changwon has not yet issued a response.

Changwon citizens also are protesting the decision, with some even suggesting that the Dinos at least threaten to leave the city.

Bae Seok-hyun, NC Dinos general manager, however, said it isn’t easy to move elsewhere and the team will practice at Masan Stadium for the time being.

“Moving the base means forgoing all of the preparations we have made in Changwon,” Bae said. “We don’t feel right about the decision, but we are not in a position to argue about that.”

By Moon Gwang-lip, Seo Ji-young [joe@joongang.co.kr]
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