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S. Korean baseball makes another change to tie rule

Jan. 5, 2011 - 10:43 By 이우영

There will be a third change in four seasons to the tie rule in South Korean professional baseball.

General managers from all eight teams in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) gathered in Seoul on Tuesday to discuss rule changes for the upcoming season. They agreed to modify the rule regarding tie games so that a draw doesn't count as a loss, as was the case in 2009 and 2010 season.

In South Korean baseball, ties are called after 12 innings in the regular season and 15 innings in the playoffs. In 2008, the league briefly scrapped ties and forced teams to play until a winner was decided. But managers strongly opposed the change for fear of the physical toll on their players, even though only six games in 2008 went beyond 13 innings. The KBO went back to the 12-inning tie rule starting in 2009.

(Yonhap News)

How ties affect teams' winning percentages will change for 2011 season. In 2009 and 2010, ties were counted as losses, and the winning percentage was simply calculated with wins divided by the number of games played. In 2010, for instance, the first-place SK Wyverns had 84 wins, 47 losses and two ties in 133 games for a winning percentage of .632.

Managers have argued that they shouldn't be penalized for tying games, prompting general managers to switch back to an old formula starting this year.

It is a method used by Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) in Japan, where teams also play to ties. Under the formula, ties will not count toward a team's winning percentage, which will be calculated by dividing the number of wins by the sum of wins and losses.

The 2010 SK Wyverns would have had a winning percentage of .641 with this formula.

The KBO used the Japanese formula from its inaugural season in 1982 to 1986, and again from 1998 to 2002 and from 2005 to 2007.

From 1987 to 1997, ties gave teams 0.5 wins, and a winning percentage equaled the sum of wins and ties divided by the number of games. In 2003 and 2004, rankings were determined on the number of victories, not on winning percentage.

Among other rule changes, general managers agreed to increase the number of games from 133 this year to 140 in 2012. This change will be finalized pending the possible launch of a ninth club in the league.

NCsoft Corp., a local online game developer, in December expressed interest in setting up the ninth team, with two other unidentified companies having done the same with the KBO.

When teams play more games, the size of the roster will also increase from 26 players to 27, general managers said.

The KBO will convene a board meeting of team presidents next Tuesday, where executives will discuss the feasibility of adding an extra club to the league. The other rule changes made at the general managers' meeting are all final. (Yonhap News)