KBO to give masks to fans when dust is bad

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KBO to give masks to fans when dust is bad

Korea’s professional baseball league announced Wednesday that it will hand out masks to fans to protect them against dust that continues to blanket the nation.

The KBO said it will distribute 75,000 masks to each of the league’s 10 clubs. A KBO official said the league will try to have the masks ready at the earliest possible date, though they may be unavailable on the first day of the new regular season on March 23.

The KBO instituted a rule in January to allow games to be canceled when air quality advisories are in place.

The KBO’s game operations officials assigned to each stadium will have the option of calling off games when warnings related to fine-dust concentrations are issued. Such decisions will be made an hour before first pitch.

The fine-dust warning is issued when the level of particles 2.5 to 10 micrometers in diameter (PM10) is expected to exceed 300 micrograms per cubic meter for more than two hours. For ultrafine dust, or particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter (PM2.5), the warning is put in place when the level is expected to remain over 150 micrograms per cubic meter for longer than two hours.

Fine-dust problems are relatively new and the KBO previously let officials decide whether to cancel games based on air quality on the day.

On April 6, 2018, fine dust caused cancellations of three KBO games, the first time air problems forced such a move since the league’s inception in 1982. Another game was called off nine days later due to dust issues.

The Korean Series, the championship finals, was also played in dusty conditions last November, though no games were canceled.

Nine of the 10 clubs play their home games in open-air stadiums. The Kiwoom Heroes, based in Seoul’s Gocheok Sky Dome, are the only team with a domed ballpark.

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