8:40am: Yoo details the abbreviated preseason at greater length in a second column, outlining the limited travel arrangement in place and the safety/testing precautions that the league will implement. Players will be tested twice prior to games, receive “strong” recommendations to wear masks throughout the stadium when not on the field and be prohibited from spitting (while being “discouraged” from celebratory high fives). Umpires will wear masks and gloves.
Players showing symptoms will immediately be quarantined and tested further. Their stadium would then be subject to a 48-hour closure. A positive test would result in a meeting with text executives throughout the league to determine whether a full stoppage of play is necessary.
April 19: An official announcement is expected Tuesday about the state of the KBO League’s schedule, Jee-ho Yoo of the Yonhap News Agency writes, as Korea’s top baseball league is preparing to begin play in early May. League officials will meet with the presidents of each KBO team Tuesday, and it is still possible that the KBO could complete its usual 144-game schedule, with liberal use of double-headers and playing games on Monday (which is normally a league-wide off-day).
If a full season is played, the schedule would stretch into November, with postseason games in the latter half of the month played at a neutral venue — the domed Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul. The KBO preseason is set to begin on Tuesday, with teams playing four games before beginning regular season action in the first week of May (possibly even on May 1 itself). All preseason games and regular season games in at least the first portion of the schedule will be played without fans in attendance, and it is possible fans could be allowed to watch games in person later in the year depending on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Of course, all of the KBO League’s plans are dependent upon a continued decrease in coronavirus cases. South Korea has showed good progress in this direction, as only eight new cases were reported in the country on Sunday, the lowest daily total in two months. South Korea prime minister Chung Sye-kyun said today that general social distancing policies will remain in place until at least May 5, though “the degree of social distancing will be flexibly changed depending on the scope of transmissions. The government will evaluate the risks every two weeks, and adjust the level of social distancing if necessary.” In the meantime, some outdoor facilities, churches, restaurants, schools, and gyms could be allowed to open, assuming strict guidelines are followed for such public locations and gatherings.