Party led to KBO shutting down games, says reporter

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Party led to KBO shutting down games, says reporter

The Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul is empty on Tuesday after the Korea Baseball Organization suspended games until Aug. 9 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  [NEWS1]

The Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul is empty on Tuesday after the Korea Baseball Organization suspended games until Aug. 9 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. [NEWS1]

 
The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO)’s decision to shut down the league was prompted by players testing positive for Covid-19 after a drinking party, a local reporter claimed Tuesday.  
 
According to Park Dong-hee, a reporter for MBC Sports Plus News, more than four players from the NC Dinos baseball team, based in the southern city of Changwon, recently had a drinking party with guests unrelated to the team. Park made the revelation in an interview with MBC Radio on Tuesday.  
 
According to Park, the ball players recently came to Seoul for a game, and invited outside guests to a drinking party at their hotel.  
 
NC Dinos players stayed at a hotel in Seoul from July 5 to 7 for a game against the Doosan Bears. A confirmed case of Covid-19 was linked to the hotel on Thursday, and the players took tests.  
 
Three Dinos players and two players from the Bears were confirmed positive as of Saturday.  
 
At the request of the two teams, the KBO held an emergency board meeting with all 10 club CEOs on Monday and effectively suspended the league until Aug. 9. The KBO said it was postponing 30 games scheduled this week because the pandemic situation is serious. It said it is not canceling the season, and the games will resume after infections subside.
 
“NC Dinos claimed that it took the upmost precautions to prevent infections, so I visited the hotel to see if the players were infected through contact with hotel staff,” Park told MBC on Tuesday. “The hotel said it respected all social distancing measures, and the KBO must know how the infections spread.
 
“Further investigation led to information about the drinking party involving NC players and outside guests," Park also said.
 
NC Dinos said Wednesday that public health authorities started an investigation Monday to find out how the infections spread and if anyone violated social distancing measures.  
 
Health authorities already suggested that some players gathered in the same hotel room in violation of social distancing measures. Under the measures, only people registered as guests can be in a hotel room after 10 p.m.  
 
“We will punish the players if the investigation shows that they violated social distancing measures,” an NC official said.  
 
 
 

BY OH WON-SEOK [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]
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