Baseball Is Back!

KBO Baseball. And it's awesome.

Jim Rome
May 05, 2020 - 9:23 am

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Today is a special day. A truly special day. And now it’s just a matter of finding the right music to capture this amazing moment, emotionally. Because, if I’m being really honest; I’m all in. Completely caught up in this moment. I am really, really feeling it. Feeling all sorts of things. The feeling being that I’d like a strikeout. I’d like a base hit. I’d also like a double play. Check that, I wouldn’t like all of those things, I WANT all of those things.  I NEED all those things. So pick me up, Alvin: do have anything at all in your vast song library that can speak to all the things I’m dealing with emotionally in this moment: Like some Stapp!  

Yes, that’s what I’m talking about. Let’s play ball, its game day. And ball is being played in Korea, as the Korea Baseball Organization had Opening Day this morning. And if you know anything about me or this show, you know I am all about that action, boss. The KBO action. And have been for years. I’m hyped. And IT’S AWESOME!

Because with KBO ball, you aren’t just getting base hits and dooo-ble plays, you’re getting bat flips. The best bat flips in the world.

Look, let’s be real, today wasn’t the easiest opening day ever in KBO history. There were no fans in the stands, obviously. And there was a rain delay in the Dinos-Lions game.

But after waiting this long, it can’t get worse than a rain delay, can it? Yes. Yes it can. Because if the last few months have taught the world anything, it’s that bad things happen. And things you never could’ve imagined will happen.

Like a fire delay in the Tigers-Heroes game. FACT. A fire delay. Who gives a damn about a rain delay? That’ll happen. Happens to us all (insert). But a freaking FIRE delay?  On opening day??

But that’s exactly what happened. A fire broke out across the street from the stadium and the smoke came into the stadium and the field. After 20 minutes, it cleared and the game was able to continue. And the Heroes put an 11-2 hospital job on the Tigers. That is not how Tigers manager Matt Williams would want to start his first season in charge. Brutal loss. Just like the old days, eh Mattie. The more things change, the more they stay exactly the same. Even on the other side of the world. That may have been the first beatdown Williams suffered, but it surely will not be the last. 

And it did not take long for our first bat flip.

Let’s go to the Dinos v. Lions game. The Dinos had just gone yard and they’re about to again.

Chang-Min Mo, if you need him. Flip it. Flip it good. That was some quality bat flipping action. Good but not great. Clearly, there’s rust there that has to be knocked. Because, when we look back at the end of the KBO season, that’s probably not even cracking the top 10 or even top 20 bat flips.

That said, Do that in the States and every redass on the bumpwill be looking to fight you for the rest of the season. Flip a bat in Korea and it gets the respect it deserves. Hit a home run, flip your bat, take as much time as you want joggig  the bases, maybe even go flap down, ala Jeffrey Leonard, and nobody loses their mind. But…Here it’s a reason to go, which is idiotic.

MLB would be so much better if it had even half the fun and swag of KBO when it comes to bat flips.

And Chang-Min Mo wasn’t the only guy showing off some power today. How about former Detroit Tigers infielder Dixon Machado showing some pop for the Giants?

How about the crack of that bat? That was solid. That was so crisp and clean it was like something from Scott Stapp’s studio.  With a little hop and skip out of the box to boo.  Again if a pitcher here see that, machado’s probably getting one in his ear in his next at-bat. 

But…Damn it is good to hear that sound again and to know it’s happening in a game, a real game. And the Giants needed that.  Because, believe me, no one, anywhere is forgetting how disastrous their 2019 season was.  No one is forgetting how much money they threw at it last year, only to end up in last place.  I feel like that’s all ever talk about on this show.  The underachieving Lotte Giants and a horrible season they had.

Chase that brutal season with the fact that one of their foreign players, Adrian Sampson, is stuck in the United States, unable to enter Korea and when he does, he’ll have to be quarantined for three weeks. So if ever there was a team that needed an Opening Day win, it was the Giants and they got it.

And then you have The Lawnmower Ump in the Twins-Bears game is already a legend. He’s already gotten that nickname because of the strike call that looks like he’s trying to start a rusted out lawnmower. He punches guys out with anger and authority.

I wish I had audio to play for you, but there’s no audio that can do him justice. It is visual. And if you haven’t had a chance to see this guy in action, you need to set an alarm, because this guy punches out batters like…well….a freaking lawnmower! 

I feel like these days, I literally can’t go anywhere without someone asking me, yo, Rome, who’s your favorite KBO team. It’s all you talk about these days: just give it up: who’s your favorite KBO TEAM! To which I say once again….I don’t root.

Yes… I’ve always had made respect for the Tigers. How the hell can you not? And nobody was more pumped than I was when the Eagles finally broke through and won a title in 1999, but when it comes to KBO, I try to play it down the middle. 

I know a lot of Johnny-Come-Latelys are trying to jump on the KBO bandwagon and pick a team because it’s cool. That’s not me. I’m not coming in here and making some crazy declaration about how this is a Lions house. Or that I really am all about how the Wiz are developing young talent. Nor am I going to be the guy who picks the Dinos just because of their awesome mascots.

Although I have been talking Dinos baseball on this show for years, going back to when Eric Thames was on the show.

But I’m not bragging or looking to make it about me. This season, I’m playing it down the middle. I’m paid not to root, so I’m not going to root. Nor am I going to make predictions on this season. As always, nothing good comes from making predictions. Either you’re wrong and you get clowned for it, or you’re right and nobody wants to hear about it.

And I’m certainly not making predictions based on just one game. Just because the Eagles started the season with a 3-0 shutout of the Wyverns doesn’t mean they’re on the road to a title and it doesn’t mean the Wyverns and their analytics-heavy approach to the game is wrong. It’s one game. Be patient. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times. It’s a long 144 game season and you can’t win a title in May.

But damn it feels good to have KBO back. And it feels awesome to say: let’s play ball, its game day.