The latest Phillies news takes us across the Pacific to the KBO
There is little Phillies news these days with Major League Baseball still working to develop a plan to play amid the pandemic. In the meantime, the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) will begin their season on Tuesday and ESPN will bring live games to fill the baseball void.
Opening Day in Korea will begin at 1:00 a.m. EST in the United States with five games featuring all 10 of their teams.
ESPN will broadcast one live game a day this week with multiple reairs, and could possibly do more if these broadcasts are a success.
There are also bat flips. Lots and lots of bat flips.
Playing in these games will be five former Phillies, some who played for the team fairly recently.
The most notable name would be Aaron Altherr, who was the Phillies opening day center fielder in 2018. Altherr is a complete athlete who could never get it together for the Phillies, playing in 332 games for them over parts of six years hitting a meager .222 with 36 home runs.
Altherr will play for the NC Dinos, which was founded in 2011 and still looking for their first championship.
Pitchers David Buchanan and Ben Lively will both suit up for the Samsung Lions, who have won the second-most (8) championships among active KBO teams. A seventh round pick of the Phillies, Buchannan went 8-17 in 35 starts for the Phillies in 2014-15.
Lively was traded to the Phillies in the Marlon Byrd trade with Cincinnati in 2014. He made 20 starts for the Phillies in 2017-18 with a 4-9 record and a 4.81 ERA.
A pitcher many Phillies fans have likely forgotten about is Ricardo Pinto, who spent six years in the Phillies minor league system before coming up in 2017. In 25 appearances with the Phillies, Pinto had a 7.89 ERA before going to the Rays for two games. This year he’ll play for the SK Wyverns
Returning to the KBO is former Phillies outfielder Hyun-Soo Kim, who joined the LG Twins. Kim, a native of Seoul, South Korea, signed with Baltimore in 2015 out of Korea and was traded to the Phillies in the 2017 Jeremy Hellickson trade.
In 40 games with the Phillies, mostly off the bench, Kim hit .240 with just 20 hits. In his last two seasons with the LG Twins Kim has hit .333 with 33 home runs in 257 games.
Now, it’s time to pick your KBO team.
We’ll follow the KBO and see how the former Phillies are doing. This is a great opportunity to bring not just baseball, but sports back to the world and it could open up opportunities for players to either return or come over to MLB.