Tonight at midnight, there's baseball on ESPN. And it isn't a replay.
The network has reached an agreement with the Korean Baseball Organization to telecast games starting with the season opener between the Samsung Lions and NC Dinos.
The KBO is starting its 144-game regular season six weeks later than originally scheduled because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the games, at the start of the season, will be played without fans in attendance. The four-team professional league in Taiwan has been playing games under those conditions for several weeks, but the KBO features a higher quality of play.
According to the website mykbostats.com, there are more than 30 foreign-born players in the league, including about 20 from the United States. Taylor Motter, who had a nine-game stretch as a utility player for the Twins in 2018, is a member of the Kiwoom Heroes.
But the biggest name for Twins fans will be ByungHo Park, who came to the Twins with much fanfare after hitting 53 home runs for the Heroes in 2015. Park hit 12 homers and batted .191 for the Twins in 62 games before being sent to Class AAA Rochester, where he played through the end of the 2017 season and then returned to Korea.
This was Park's first Twins home run, which went 462 feet at Target Field:
Rejoining the Heroes, Park has hit 76 home runs over the last two seasons and batted .345 in 2018 and .280 in 2019. His 33 homers last season were enough for him to lead the league for the fifth time.
In the Midwest, game times will be at midnight, 3 a.m. or 4:30 a.m. depending on the day of the week, which means there's probably best for recording and watching later. The first week's schedule is here.
The games will be called by ESPN announcers working from their homes. The first week's crews include Karl Ravech working with Eduardo Perez and Jon Sciambi working with Jessica Mendoza.
More about the KBO can be found on its English-language web site.
And when Park goes deep, you can expect to hear this: