Baseball fans in South Korea back in stands amid COVID-19

A fan wearing a face maska cheers during the KBO league game between Doosan Bears and LG Twins in Seoul on Sunday, July 27, 2020. (AP)
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Updated 26 July 2020

Baseball fans in South Korea back in stands amid COVID-19

  • Korean Baseball Organization allows a limited number of fans, or 10 percent of the stadium capacity, to watch games live

SEOUL: Masked fans hopped, sang and shouted cheers in baseball stadiums in South Korea on Sunday as authorities began allowing spectators to return to professional sports amid the coronavirus pandemic.
After a weeks-long delay, South Korea’s 2020 baseball season began in early May without fans in the stands amid a then-slowing virus outbreak in the country. Seats in baseball stadiums had since been filled with cheering banners, dolls or pictures of fans.
On Sunday, the Korean Baseball Organization allowed a limited number of fans, or 10 percent of the stadium capacity, to watch games live. They entered stadiums after their temperatures and smartphone QR codes were checked. During the games, they were required to wear masks and sit at least a seat apart while being banned from eating food and drinking any alcoholic beverages in line with the KBO guidelines.
During a game between Doosan Bears and LG Twins at Seoul’s Jamsil baseball stadium, fans wearing the teams’ jerseys still shouted their favorite players’ names, raised banners and sang fight songs. Some Bears fans jumped from their seats when Choi Joo-hwan hit a two-run home run at the bottom the 2nd inning.
Two of the five baseball games Sunday still continued without fans because they were held in area where stricter social distancing guidelines are in place.
Health authorities said Friday that the professional soccer league will also be allowed to have fans back in the stands from Aug. 1, and also starting with 10 percent of the stadium capacity. Senior Health Ministry official Yoon Taeho said that professional golf tournaments will still continue without galleries until at least late August.
South Korean officials plan to allow more fans into baseball and football stadiums if they report progress in anti-virus campaigning.
South Korea has seen an uptick in new virus cases since it eased its rigid social distancing rules in early May. But the country’s caseload hasn’t exploded like its earlier outbreak in late February and early March, when it recorded hundreds of new cases every day.
Earlier Sunday, South Korea reported 58 additional cases of the coronavirus over the past 24-hour period, a day after it reported 100-plus for the first time in nearly four months.


Murray to the rescue as Nuggets hold of Lakers

Updated 23 September 2020

Murray to the rescue as Nuggets hold of Lakers

  • The 23-year-old Canadian’s three-pointer from 26 feet gave Denver a seven-point advantage at 106-99

ORLANDO: Jamal Murray scored 28 points as the Denver Nuggets held off a ferocious late fightback from the Los Angeles Lakers to roar back into contention in the Western Conference finals series on Tuesday.

Murray nailed two crucial late three-pointers in the closing minutes as Denver held on for a 114-106 victory in game three to reduce the Lakers’ lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

But the Nuggets — who looked in complete control for long periods of the contest — were given a mighty scare by the Lakers in a thrilling fourth quarter battle.

The Lakers had trailed by 20 points with just over 10 minutes remaining but whittled away the Denver lead to just three points with 3min 53sec left on the clock in Orlando.

But just as it looked as if LeBron James and Anthony Davis were poised to complete a remarkable comeback, Murray regrouped to take the game away from the Lakers.

The 23-year-old Canadian’s three-pointer from 26 feet gave Denver a seven-point advantage at 106-99 and he then provided the assist for Paul Millsap to make it 108-99.

With less than a minute on the clock, Murray struck the dagger blow with a 29-foot three-point jumpshot to make it 111-99 and effectively seal victory.

Denver coach Michael Malone said his team — who had suffered an agonizing buzzer-beater defeat in game two on Sunday — were determined not to go 3-0 down in the series.

The Nuggets have already overturned 3-1 series deficits en route to the Western Conference finals.

“I had no doubt we were going to show up tonight,” Malone said.

“We have won six straight elimination games. Everybody always has us packing our bags and leaving, but we’re not ready to go. They’re a very resilient group and they have proved that time and time again.”

Asked about his late flourish, Murray said he had set out to lead by example.

“That’s my whole energy, my whole approach to the game, not getting down if I miss a couple of shots,” Murray said.

“I’m just trying to be aggressive ... but the most important part is the energy I bring when I’m talking to my team-mates, being a vocal leader, getting up and down and pushing everybody so they tend to follow. I just wanted to see them have a lot of fun today.”

The Lakers, meanwhile, were left reflecting on an uneven display which ultimately left James and Davis with too much to do.

James led the scoring with a triple double comprised of 30 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, with six turnovers. Davis had 27 points, with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (12) and Kyle Kuzma (11) the only other Lakers players to crack double figures.

Murray, who also had 12 assists, was backed with 26 points from Jerami Grant while Nikola Jokic weighed in with 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

“You put yourself in an 18-point hole, it’s tough to climb out of that,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said.

“I thought Denver played with great energy throughout the game. We didn’t match it early, we matched it late. They’re a great basketball team so credit it to them for the win. They played a really good basketball game.

“We were not as sharp as we could have been on both ends of the floor. We were playing at a high level, but were a little bit off in the first half.

“But I liked the spirit that the guys competed with down the stretch to try and make it a game.”