As negotiations to resume play drag on and with players on several teams testing positive for COVID-19, Major League Baseball today announced it would be playing the 2020 season in South Korea, citing the country’s much more successful approach to battling the disease.
“We’ve been beating each other up trying to get back on the field and then it hit me,” said Commissioner Rob Manfred, “Why go through all this stress to get back on the field in a country where case numbers continue to skyrocket when we could head somewhere much safer and play without fear?”
South Korea saw its first cases of the disease a few weeks prior to the United States and now is seeing only a few dozen diagnoses a day, compared to the United States which is suffering approximately 30,000 cases a day. South Korea began hosting live baseball games more than a month ago whereas the United States has yet to figure out if and when it could safely host games.
“It’s really a no-brainer,” said Manfred. “Actually, given the spikes we’re seeing around this country, moving to pretty much anyplace other than the United States is a no-brainer.”
Manfred added that before deciding to move to South Korea the league considered “much, much, much safer” countries than the United States including Angola (13 cases a day), Venezuela (100 cases a day), Namibia (5 cases a day) and Finland (8 cases a day).
Ultimately politics and geography impacted the decision.
“Since baseball is America’s Pastime, we are hoping to get the president to a few games,” said Manfred. “We know how big of a fan he is of North Korea’s dear leader, so hopefully the next time they meet up it can include a trip to see the Seoul Mariners, Busan Orioles,