Longest 9-inning Games

The 2014 season so far has proved professional baseball games in South Korea can take an extremely long time.  Despite all the rule changes made this past offseason targeted to “speed up” the game, we have already seen 23 games (out of 59) take more than 3.5 hours.

Last year a game took an average of 3 hours and 20 minutes, which was an increase of nine minutes from the previous year.  The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) decided to make the changes fearing the prolonged games may push away fans and potential fans, after a season in which they suffered their first a drop in attendance since 2006.

Whether it be control issues of pitchers, or players not hustling on the field, or whatever, these prolonged games in South Korea seem to continue to a point where we may have to generalize this as a cultural phenomena.

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*The LG Twins after a devastating loss in a nine-inning regulation battle that took 4 hours and 45 minutes. (Courtesy of OSEN)

Last Friday’s game between the Changwon NC Dinos and LG Twins at Jamsil Baseball Stadium fell short of making history as it was ranked third on the longest 9-inning game in the history of the Korea Baseball Championship (Korea’s top professional baseball league).  It took 4 hours and 40 minutes to complete the game.  NC Dinos Mo Chang-min’s (모창민) go-ahead home run in the top of the ninth prevented the game from going into extra innings, or more than that, breaking the Guinness World Record.  The (in)famous rivarly between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees caused a regular season game on August 18, 2004 to hold the world reknown title.

However…

Truth be told (and I know a lot of you folks are sick and tired of hearing Korea is number one in this, and Korea invented that), not one, but two professional games in South Korea took longer than the Guinness record.  One of them was set just last season.

So, in case you were wondering, along with the two aforementioned games, I leave you below a list of the longest nine-inning games (more than 4.5 hours) in the history of the Korea Baseball Championship:

  1. 5:00: KIA 15-13 LG @ Jamsil on May 24, 2008
  2. 5:00: LG 13-12 KIA @ Mudeung on Apr. 18, 2013
  3. 4:40: NC 12-11 LG @ Jamsil on Apr. 11, 2014
  4. 4:39: LG 22-17 Seoul @ Mokdong on May 15, 2009
  5. 4:38: Lotte 6-6 MBC @ Jamsil on Jul. 8, 1988
  6. 4:38: Doosan 8-9 Hyundai @ Suwon on Aug. 29, 2003
  7. 4:37: Lotte 12-11 KIA @ Mudeung on Aug. 18, 2001
  8. 4:37: SK 17-12 Samsung @ Citizen on Aug. 19, 2003
  9. 4:36: Doosan 12-11 Samsung @ Citizen on Jul. 16, 2009
  10. 4:33: Hyundai 11-8 Doosan @ Jamsil on Jul. 18, 2000
  11. 4:33: Samsung 5-5 LG Twins @ Jamsil on May 14, 2004
  12. 4:33: LG 12-15 Doosan @ Jamsil on Jul. 26, 2013
  13. 4:32: OB 18-12 Ssangbangwool @ Wolmyeong on Jun. 12, 1995
  14. 4:32: Hanwha 16-8 KIA Tigers @ Mudeung on Apr. 24, 2012
  15. 4:31: Lotte 15-8 KIA @ Mudeung on Jul. 25, 2007

Alike the longest game list, most happened after the new millenium.  So, there definitely is an issue with the length of the game.  Also, notice some of the games remain tied without extra-inning play.  In the past, there was a time limit.  So, if a game passed a certain time, it would not go to extra innings.  And, do note that a certain team is a regular in the top 5, and that team was formerly known as the MBC Chungyong.

Here is the twist.  The longest nine-inning game ever to be played in this planet did not happen in Korea.

 

Reference(s):

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3 responses to “Longest 9-inning Games

  1. Hello, great site, I’ll be sure to review your older posts later, but I had a general question about the Korean professional league. How does/did the league handle an odd number of teams? Did they decrease the number of games, or lengthen the season? I’m a fan of American MLB, and the season is already so tightly packed between April and September that odd number of teams would not work, especially considering they do not like the lengthy delay while the other teams are playing their series.

    • Thanks! Teams now play 128 games every season which is down from 133. One team gets a bye series while the other eight teams play. However, the league will play with 10 teams next season, therefore, this won’t be going on forever.

      The KBO actually looked for a 10th team right after they welcomed the NC Dinos (expansion team) into the league.

      Speaking of the length of the season, S. Korea has some political and geographical issues that affects it. The country is roughly the size of Indiana and it experiences a monsoon during the summer, which causes massive rainouts in that period. So, what the league does is have the regular season scheduled up to August, and leave September open for make-up games. Korea is also pretty active in sending pros in international games. So, the country will try to fit that into the schedule as well. You can say that the length of the season depends on how many games have been rained out, and whether there is an international sporting event during that year.

      • Oh, so I guess it works out that they just needed to reduce each team’s games by 5 games to fit into their usual regular season calendar, and maybe using some of that buffer in September. Its good that they allow their players for international competitions, like soccer/football. MLB doesnt care about that. Well, MLB does, but most owners and dans dont. Well, thanks for answering my question!

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