No ties in Korean baseball
Posted by simon c on 2008 June 17日 Tuesday
From JoongAng Daily, KBO has virtually eliminated tied games starting this season, unlike Japan’s NPB where ties aren’t uncommon.
Last Thursday, the Woori Heroes edged out the Kia Tigers 2-1 in the bottom of the 14th inning. The game began at 6:32 p.m. and ended at 12:49 a.m.
With a 55-minute rain delay in between, the official elapsed time was five hours and 22 minutes. It was the first KBO game ever to end after midnight and the longest game of this season by nine minutes. There were close to 7,000 fans on hand at the beginning of the game at Mokdong Stadium in western Seoul but fewer than 1,000 stayed on until Kang Jung-ho’s walk-off single in the 14th.
Starting this season, the KBO abolished the tying rule, whereby a tie would be called after 12 innings in the regular season and 15 innings in playoffs. Ties will still be allowed, however, if a tie game is rained out after five innings or if teams are tied after nine innings of the first game of a double header.
Hmm.. I’ve of two minds about ties. On one hand, the baseball (and North American sports) tradition of playing endless extra innings (and overtime) until a winner is decided is charming (maybe not quite the right word 😛 )
But the obsession with eliminating ties brought in the stupid shootout in the NHL. Are ties that evil? Of course, with the NHL, you can’t have the playoff style endless overtime during the regular season because the sport is so taxing on the body, but really, what’s wrong with a draw at the end of hockey or football (soccer or gridiron) matches? (Basketball is a high enough scoring sport that it’s easy to break ties in overtime.)
So, we return to baseball in Asia. Although it’s fun to see how managers deal with never ending extra inning games, and to see the hardcore fans sticking it out, at the same time I don’t feel that ties in regular season baseball are an abomination. Maybe this is because of my exposure to non-North American sports leagues and my hatred for NHL shootouts to break up ties (Asia League Ice Hockey, thankfully, doesn’t use shootouts and accepts ties after 5 minutes of OT). There can be well fought out ties, it’s not always a matter of just settling for them.