ESPN set to broadcast KBO games featuring several former Phillies

Aaron Altherr is playing in the KBO. (Ian D’Andrea)

For the first time since last October, there will be meaningful baseball on US television.

The Korean Baseball Organization is set to begin its season on Tuesday, and on Monday it was announced that it partnered with ESPN to broadcast one game a day, starting on Tuesday.

Games will be aired at 5:30 a.m. ET on Tuesdays-Fridays, 4 a.m. ET on Saturdays and 1:30 a.m. ET on Sundays on ESPN2.

The first broadcast features the NC Dinos facing the Samsung Lions at 1:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday, and both teams feature some former Phillies.

Aaron Altherr, who made his major league debut in 2015, is an outfielder with the Dinos. After a breakout 2017 with the Phillies in which he slashed .272/.340/.516, Altherr was never able to put it together again and spent 2019 with three different teams before signing with the Dinos in the offseason. Altherr and the Dinos are also set to be broadcast on Thursday at 5:30 a.m. ET, Saturday at 4 a.m. and Sunday at 1 a.m. ET.

Pitchers David Buchanan and Ben Lively are both on the Samsung Lions. Buchanan made 35 starts to the tune of a 5.01 ERA across two seasons for the Phillies in 2015-16 and has spent the last three years in the Japanese Central League.

Lively made 20 starts with the Phillies to the tune of a 4.81 ERA in 2017 and 2018 before he was claimed off waivers by the Kansas City Royals. He and Buchanan both signed with the Lions this offseason, who are also set to be broadcast this week on Thursday and Friday at 5:30 a.m. ET.

Outfielder Hyun-Soo Kim, who spent the second half of the 2017 season with the Phillies, now plays for the LG Twins. The Twins will be broadcast this week on Saturday at 4 a.m. ET and Sunday at 1 a.m. ET.

This will the first taste of live baseball to hit television in the US since MLB ceased operations on March 13. You can look at this week’s full schedule at this link.


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  1. Ken Bland

    May 4, 2020 at 5:57 pm

    Quite the article. Let us count the ways.

    Surpassing 10 on a scale of 1-10 on the comedy beat, here we have an article that dares use the world meaningful to describe the new programming forthcoming on ESPN. I haven’t heard anything so funny as meaningful and David Buchannan mentioned in the same article, chapter, or book in all my days. Double that for Ben Lively.

    And with a straight face, the Heller Feller talks about LIVE broadcasts at the likes of 4 AM Eastern.

    While I’m not a candidate for the Program Director position at ESPN, I will pass on the free consultation conclusion that at that hour, the mothership is better off rerunning repeats of “Last Dance.”

    Can’t wait to see these Korean boys execute double plays within the guidelines of social distancing!

  2. Craig Glessner

    May 4, 2020 at 10:54 pm

    There is this thing called dvr so you can watch a game later. I’m not sure but do believe there is a time difference in South Korea from the United States. After virtual horse racing, virtual nascar, watching professional athletes play video games, dont forget the tension filled games of horse, and the day ESPN decided to have a spelling bee marathon not to be confused with a running marathon I actually look forward to watching an actual baseball game. We should be watching with hope that mlb follows this model until the fake news media decide to stop trying to keep the United States hostage with fear and can go back to the ballparks and on with normal life again.

  3. denzen

    May 7, 2020 at 1:03 pm

    These days you mostly don’t even need a DVR, Channels like ESPN2 generally rebroadcast events. With that in mind I checked, and the NC Dinos with Aaron Altherr are playing (today) Thurs. at 3pm EDT. So while Ken Bland is above all this, I really appreciate Jonny Heller’s article. I would not have known about these games otherwise.

    • denzen

      May 8, 2020 at 9:36 am

      I tuned into the NC Dinos game, Aaron Altherr was not playing. I heard the announcer say this, “Aaron Altherr is coming off the bench today because he tweeked a muscle diving for a ball in the outfield yesterday.” Just like his days here in Philly.

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