Tue. Oct 3rd, 2023

 Nothing like this has ever happened in the 42-year history of the KBO League. After waiting for a whopping 3 hours and 24 minutes (204 minutes), the game resumed. It was an unprecedented rainy weather interruption. 

The second game of the double header between KT and Hanwha was held at Hanwha Life Eagles Park in Daejeon on the 17th. In the bottom of the 5th inning, with KT leading 3-1, wind and rain began to blow in the outfield before Hanwha’s leadoff hitter, Moon Hyun-bin, came to bat. The rain became thicker and soon turned into a torrential downpour. At 6:33 p.m., right after KT starting pitcher Wes Benjamin threw the 7th pitch to Moon Hyun-bin, the umpires declared a rain stop. 

Then the stadium management team got busy. As soon as the decision to stop was made, the mound was first covered with a mini tarp, and then a large tarp was spread over the entire infield. It took 2 minutes and 40 seconds to get here. Although rain was forecast for the evening, there was no time to do anything because of the sudden downpour. It rained for about 20 minutes, and the entire field became completely flooded with water. 

It rained so heavily in such a short time, and considering the soaked ground, it seemed like it would not be easy to resume the game. However, the referee did not make a hasty decision. They did not declare a no game due to rain, and asked the Hanwha Stadium management team about the ground maintenance time. Accordingly, the management team informed the referees, “It is expected to take more than 2 hours.” 

This meant that realistically it would be difficult to resume the game. The previous record for the longest game stoppage in the KBO League was 1 hour and 56 minutes (116 minutes), held twice in the Daejeon Samsung-Binggrae match on August 15, 1987, and in the Daejeon KT-Hanwha match on July 23 last year. Until now, the game stoppage had never exceeded 2 hours, but on this day, it lasted well over 3 hours. 

After the rain stopped at the request of the referee, all stadium management personnel began work on maintaining the ground. After pulling up the tarp, I waited for the water to subside to some extent, but there were one or two places that needed repair. The process of first removing the infield mud with a shovel and then laying down new soil to level the infield was repeated. 

About 2 hours and 30 minutes after maintenance began, the referee came out to the ground and directly inspected the situation. We once again asked the management team how much time was needed, and the reply was, “We need about 30 minutes to an hour more.” Accordingly, the referee notified the game to be re-maintained, and after additional maintenance work, the game was barely resumed at 9:57 p.m. 

A whopping 3 hours and 24 minutes (204 minutes), the longest record in KBO League history due to rain interruption. Even at the beginning of the game suspension, the spectators, who had been waiting for the game to resume while happily dancing to the song blaring through the stadium, left one by one as the night deepened. Players from both teams, who played the first game of the double header starting at 2 p.m., were also exhausted by the endlessly long waiting time. 스포츠토토After the game resumed, they were exposed to the risk of injury due to the slippery stadium environment. There were complaints from both sides of the team, saying, “What are we going to do if the players get hurt like this?” 

Under normal circumstances, this game should have been declared a no-game early on. The referee’s hesitation was due to the impact of the schedule being pushed too far. As it rained more than any other year, a total of 85 games in the KBO League were canceled due to rain as of the 17th. Highest record ever. Even after rescheduling the canceled games on the 29th of last month, 19 additional games were canceled, creating a complicated situation in which future schedules must be reorganized. There is no room to delay any longer as the postseason must be completed before the Asian Professional Baseball Championship (APBC), which will be held at Tokyo Dome in Japan on November 16. 

There is no way to prevent situations like this from continuing to occur in the future due to rapid climate change. The WBSC Premier 12 international competition is scheduled for November after the season ends next year, so the KBO League regular season must be completed as quickly as possible. It is most important not to overuse cancellations due to rain, but this is a time when concrete measures must be taken to prevent further delays in the schedule.

The KBO is considering moving up the start of the season to the end of March. Last month, the KBO executive committee also discussed holding a game or doubleheader on Monday in case of rain cancellation in the early or mid-season when players are in good physical condition. The prevailing opinion on the field is that Sunday’s doubleheader is better than Monday’s game.

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