Dinos to Jinhae: If you build it, we won’t come

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Dinos to Jinhae: If you build it, we won’t come

A new baseball stadium that is projected to be built for the NC Dinos in Jinhae, South Gyeongsang, by the unified Changwon city government, consisting of Changwon, Masan and Jinhae, won’t have its tenant even if it is completed.

The NC Dinos said on Tuesday that they will not use the 25,000-seat stadium if the unified city government builds it in Jinhae, a location that most people in baseball circles, except politicians, say isn’t an appropriate place to house a team. The statement came out after seven members of the unified city council made a rumpus on Monday. They visited Mokdong Baseball Stadium during Game 5 of the first round of the 2013 Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) postseason and attempted to meet KBO Commissioner Koo Bon-neung.

They said that the KBO and the NC Dinos should stop disturbing the city government’s plan to build a stadium in Jinhae. They said they would not leave the ballpark until they met Koo and handed over a resolution urging the KBO to stay out of the issue.

Some KBO officials, including Secretary-General Yang Hae-young, were grilled by some aggressive council members who tussled with Mokdong Stadium staff members who were blocking their way to the KBO chief’s seat.

“I told them to visit the KBO office in Gangnam, southern Seoul, later, because we are in the middle of baseball’s biggest event, but they just didn’t listen to us,” Yang said.

In late September, the KBO presented a study that said the unified government’s plan to build a new stadium in Jinhae is not appropriate because there isn’t a large fan base in the region, which also lacks a sufficient public transportation system. They said the city’s right to host the Dinos would be revoked if it doesn’t go back to the old plan.

In January, the unified city government designated Jinhae as the Dinos’ new home based on a study it did in 2011. However, the Jinhae site was ranked 11th in the report, which said the best site for a new stadium is near Changwon Sports Complex in Changwon. But after the unified city government stuck with the unreasonable plan, the KBO officially warned it to reconsider the issue in September.

The NC Dinos immediately criticized those council members through a statement, saying, “We deplore some of the council members’ absurd behavior they showed in Mokdong. They totally disrespected the KBO and its members [teams]. The relationship between the Dinos and Changwon is now in a serious crisis.”

Regarding the new stadium, the Dinos said, “If the city government can’t find a way to correct such problems and keeps disrespecting Dinos fans, we will try everything we can do to get out of the city by cooperating with the KBO because we don’t want to see the city government building a 100 billion won ($93.9 million) ballpark that no one wants to have with taxpayers’ money.”

The Dinos have consistently requested that the city government change its plan, but this is the first time the team said it will not use the new stadium.

“It will be another white elephant,” said NC Dinos CEO Lee Tae-il.


BY KWON SANG-SOO, SEO JI-YOUNG [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]

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