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Your Razorback Guide to Korean Baseball

Who should you root for as live sports start back up?

Live sports, y’all!

Okay, I can’t imagine who’s gonna stay up tonight for a first-pitch at midnight, but that’s what DVRs and the WatchESPN app are for. Or maybe your sleep schedule has gone down the tubes because of The World’s Slowest Apocalypse.

Maybe you’re the sports junkie who doesn’t need any kind of rooting interest to watch baseball from the opposite side of the world. Maybe you’re a degenerate who can make the Korean league interesting, from a (ahem) financial perspective.

For me, I needed to find something that hits a little closer to home. I needed some Woo Pig with my Bong Joon-ho and Korean BBQ Pork.

It was not readily apparent...

But because I’m a Long Suffering Hog Fan, I can find the littlest thing to get excited about. If I have to.

Here’s a couple of teams you can root for, along with their relation to the Razorbacks.

1) Root for the Lotte Giants. They count among their former players Kit Pellow. Pellow was the Hogs’ designated hitter in 1995 and 1996. He was named first-team All-SEC in 1995, after leading the team in home runs and RBIs. In 1996 he was drafted by the Royals in the 22nd round. After three years in the majors, he spent one year, 2005, with the Lotte Giants.

Pretty tangential, I admit. Also, the Giants finished last place in the KBO in 2019. Let’s see if we can find you a better option.

2) Root for the SK Wyverns. Dave Van Horn’s long-time right-hand man, pitching coach Dave Jorn, coached the Wyverns’ hurlers in 2017, following his retirement from the college game. Clay Henry’s terrific article delves deeper into Jorn’s travels in South Korea and the KBO. Jorn coached twenty years with the Hogs, for both Van Horn and Norm DeBriyn. Guys like Dallas Keuchel and Drew Smyly learned their craft from him. Jorn has had a lot to do with the Hogs’ success in recent years.

One thing that Jorn did while coaching for the SK Wyverns was develop a young pitcher named Park Jong-Hoon, who will continue to be on the roster for the Wyverns. Park has a nutty submarine delivery that’s fun to watch. Speaking to Fangraphs’ Sung Min Kim, Park said that “[Jorn] told me to hold the motion momentarily before I go out to stride. Once I made the adjustment, I was able to throw more accurately towards the target.” Park went from a talented but wild pitcher to one of the best pitchers in the league, due in part to some Hog coaching.

In addition, the SK Wyverns made the Korean Series last year, after winning the whole thing in 2018. Here’s hoping my newfound (but, probably, fanatical) devotion to my beloved Wyverns will put them over the top again. Go Hogs, go Wyverns.

Thanks for reading. Go ahead and follow @ArkansasFight on Twitter. For Hog reactions and epic Wyvern memes, follow @lukecdavis.