Seven MLB seasons in the league’s 120-year history have begun outside the US and Canada. The first season to leave the home of the league’s 30 teams was 1999, when the season opener was played in Mexico. Five seasons have started in Tokyo, Japan, most recently in 2019. Finally, the 2014 season got underway in Sydney.
International games are becoming more and more common as the MLB attempts to replicate the success of the NFL in attracting a wider international audience. The MLB played games in London for the first time in 2019 and has returned several times after that. This year the Cubs and Cardinals will play in the British capital. What is unique about the MLB is that, unlike the NFL, there are premier baseball leagues located outside the United States. Now they will be heading to a brand new country next year.
Dodgers And Padres To Play In Korea
According to a source who spoke with ESPN, the MLB will play its first-ever games in South Korea in 2024. Korea is a major baseball nation and serves as home to the KBO League. Furthermore, there are currently five active Korean-born players on MLB teams. However, the MLB has never played games in South Korea. That is all set to change in 2024. NL West rivals Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres will face off in a two-game series in Korea. The location of the games has not been announced but it is likely that Seoul will be the venue for the two games. Sources also told ESPN that the games would be played early enough in the year to minimize the disruption for the Dodgers and Padres ahead of the rest of the season.
Of the two teams chosen, the Padres currently have Korean player on their roster. Infielder Ha-seong Kim has played with the team since 2021. Prior to joining the Padres, Kim played for six seasons in the KBO. The last time that the Dodgers had a Korean player on the roster was in 2019. That was last of six seasons that pitcher Hyun-jin Ryu spent in Los Angeles. KBO players are able to join MLB teams through a process called posting. The posting system allows MLB teams to bid on Japanese and Korean players as free agents. Are you excited to see the MLB head to Korea?