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LIVE SPORTS RETURN: Korean Baseball is on! Tonight!

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And there are Big Ten connections! Choose your sides; let’s get hostile about some sports because we can, damnit.

Northwestern Magazine

Live sports. TONIGHT.

I sound like a junkie, and I give exactly zero shits about that.

Per ESPN and probably ten thousand other mayo-boy sports bloggers/enthusiasts/content-millers, there will be English-language, U.S. broadcasts of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) League beginning tonight (or tomorrow, whatever) at 12am CT.

Details?

Let’s be honest: You don’t care about the details. I don’t care about the details. I am to the point where I watched the 2010 Outback Bowl between Northwestern Wildcats and Auburn Tigers yesterday, just to feel like I had an emotional stake in something again.

Here they are anyway:

Who: NC Dinos vs. Samsung Lions
When: Tuesday, May 5, 12am CT (9 hours from when this dropped, if that erases any confusion)
Where: ESPN (and ESPN’s streaming app, I’d assume)

Why should I care?

You don’t need to! Click out of this article and go back to your own existence.

Is there a Big Ten connection?

So tenuous even my cat is giving me side-eye!

“You’re interrupting my nap to write about WHAT?”

Each team in the KBO is permitted a maximum of three foreign-born players. This gives us both an excellent opportunity to Remember Some Guys (RIP Old Deadspin) and to think about Big Ten baseball.

Here is a full list of the Big Ten players in the KBO:

Drew Rucinski (SP, NC Dinos)

The Ohio State Buckeyes man, who also hails from Neenah, WI, will take the rubber tonight for the NC Dinos in the nationally-televised game against the Samsung Lions. Fun!

As a Buckeye, Rucinski began as a reliever in 2008 and made his way to the starting rotation as a junior in 2010, playing a crucial role in Ohio State’s postseason run in 2009 by picking up all three of the Buckeyes’ postseason victories.

Rucinski went undrafted, signing with Cleveland in 2011 and the Los Angeles Angels in 2013 before making it up to the majors in 2014 and yo-yoing between LAA affiliates. He eventually made an ill-fated pair of appearances with my Minnesota Twins in 2017, racking up a 10.38 ERA over 4.1 innings, played a regular role (32 G, 4.33 ERA) on the hapless 2018 Miami Marlins squad, then signed with the Dinos in late 2018 and made his debut in 2019. He posted a 9-9 record with a 3.05 ERA in his inaugural season in Changwon.

Eric Jokisch (SP, Kiwoom Heroes)

A Northwestern Wildcats pitcher in the KBO! Will wonders never cease!

While he was drafted out of high school by Cleveland in 2007, the 2008 Big Ten Freshman of the Year decided to play for some mediocre Northwestern teams before being drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 11th round of the 2010 draft. He made four appearances (1 start) for the hapless 2014 Cubs, posting a 1.88 ERA.

In Korea he’s managed a 13-9 record with a 3.13 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 30 starts and 181.1 innings, numbers which might matter if you follow Korean baseball—they mean nothing to me, but go ‘Cats.

Seems like you could stretch this article out more.

OK, we’ll give you ALL the foreign players (and any MLB teams they played for, because I am shameless and love that SEO money), pulled from what I’m sure is the reputable MyKBO Stats.

Doosan Bears

Hanwha Eagles

  • Chad Bell (SP, Detroit Tigers ‘17-18)
  • Warwick Saupold (RP, Detroit Tigers ‘16-18)
  • Jared Hoying (RF, Texas Rangers ‘16-17)

Kia Tigers

Kiwoom Heroes

KT Wiz

LG Twins

Lotte Giants

  • Adrian Sampson (SP, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers ‘16, 18-19)
  • Dan Straily (SP, Oakland Athletics, Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros, Cincinnati Reds, Miami Marlins, Baltimore Orioles ‘12-19)
  • Dixon Machado (IF, Detroit Tigers ‘15-18)

NC Dinos

  • Drew Rucinski (see above)
  • Mike Wright (SP, Baltimore Orioles and Seattle Mariners ‘15-19)
  • Aaron Altherr (OF, Philadelphia, San Francisco, New York Mets ‘14-19)

Samsung Lions

  • David Buchanan (SP, Philadelphia Phillies ‘14-15)
  • Ben Lively (SP, Philadelphia Phillies, Kansas City Royals ‘17-19)
  • Tyler Saladino (IF, Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers ‘15-19)

TYLER FUCKIN’ SALADINO, MAN! REMEMBER THAT GUY, THUMP?!

SK Wyverns


That’s a huuuuuge list of guys. Remember any of them? Want to talk about Big Ten baseball or KBO? Here’s your open thread for the night’s activity. We’ll see how much we enjoy it and continue picking it up again later.

Poll

Will you watch the KBO?

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    HELL YEAH KBO TIL I DIE
    (32 votes)
  • 29%
    I’ll watch it until something else is on, sure.
    (28 votes)
  • 6%
    I’ll get my fix tonight and probably not come back to it.
    (6 votes)
  • 29%
    Nah, don’t need it.
    (28 votes)
94 votes total Vote Now

Poll

THIS IS SERIOUS BUSINESS, PICK YOUR KBO TEAM

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    Doosan Bears
    (7 votes)
  • 2%
    Hanwha Eagles
    (2 votes)
  • 7%
    Kia Tigers
    (7 votes)
  • 6%
    Kiwoon Heroes
    (6 votes)
  • 3%
    KT Wiz
    (3 votes)
  • 13%
    LG Twins
    (13 votes)
  • 8%
    Lotte Giants
    (8 votes)
  • 27%
    NC Dinos
    (26 votes)
  • 12%
    Samsung Lions
    (12 votes)
  • 10%
    SK Wyverns
    (10 votes)
94 votes total Vote Now