The Korean Baseball Organization is here to rescue sports-deprived humans around the world. Who should you root for? //free use photo from wikimedia commons

With the lack of live sports in the United States, I’m looking to latch onto any and every piece of content. Whether that was a deep and dark obsession with the NFL Draft and Mock Draft Machines, appointment viewing of The Last Dance, or full NFL Game Pass highlights, we are all looking to fill the void where live sports once was. Hell, even alternative timelines of Western Illinois and 76ers basketball has delighted fans across Twitter. 

Finally, ESPN and the wonderful nation of South Korea are providing us with a breath of fresh air, in the return of the Korean Baseball Organization. Around since the early 1980s, the KBO is one of the premiere professional baseball leagues in the world, with a number of American and Latin American stars spending time abroad. The league has also placed stars into MLB including Hyun-Jin Ryu, Shin-soo Choo, and Ji-Man Choi currently and the eternally wonderful Chan Ho Park in the past. Games will be televised early in the morning, filling the void for insomniacs everywhere with 1am, 4am, and 5:30am start times.

Who will you root for? How will you invest your early interest before it likely levels off as you value your sleep over sports depravity?

Let’s take a look at the 1st Annual Official Philadelphia Fan Power Rankings for Korean Baseball (OPFPRKBO for Short)

All Title Odds from Draftkings Sportsbook

10. Samsung Lions (+1100)

Former Phillies: Ben Lively, David Buchanan

Mascot: A generic, but cute cartoon lion

Color Scheme: A very Kansas City Royals look – Blue, Grey, White 

Team History: With 8 championships and a dynasty run in the early 2000s, it’s hard not to compare the Lions to the Yankees.

Analysis: As a former resident of the Philadelphia area (suburbs loser), it would be a truly embarrassing choice to back the long time frontrunners of the league. Even with two former Phillies, I can’t bring myself to back an overpriced, under-creative team with a generic-ass mascot. 

9. Doosan Bears (+350)

Former Phillies: None

Mascot: Steel Bear, Very Menacing. Could be Stolen IP from Great Bear in Hershey Park 

Color Scheme: Navy and Red – 40% of the league use the same colors 

Team History: 6-time champion, including the 2019 Korean Series champions. They also have the best title odds to repeat this season as well.

Analysis: Again, I can in no way, shape, or form support the frontrunner of the league. My sports foundation is filled with liquid misery containing droplets of hope. We just can’t do it.

8. Hanwha Eagles  (+2200)

Former Phillies: None

Mascot: Pretty cute, owl-looking Eagle

Color Scheme: Orange, Navy

Team History: The lowliest franchise in all of the KBO, the Eagles have never won a championship and consistently finish near the bottom of the standings. 

Analysis: Look, I enjoy suffering as much as the next guy, but this would just be masochism. 

7. Lotte Giants (+2000) 

Former Phillies: Dan Straily 

Mascot: Seagulls – Absolutely Disgusting

Color Scheme: Blue, Orange, and White – A nice blend of colors with some originality 

Team History: 2 championships in the history of the team and one of the most popular teams in all of Korea

Analysis: Choosing a historically popular team doesn’t feel like the right fit for Philadelphia. I get some Boston Red Sox vibes. I do enjoy Dan Straily, who I think gave me some nice bottom starter numbers on a fantasy baseball team one time. This really comes down to my hatred for any and all teams whose mascot is the Giants. Between the NY Football Giants and the SF Giants, whose Cody Ross is a famous villain of our beloved Phillies, it’s just a disgusting name and brand to embrace. 

6. Kia Tigers (+800)

Former Phillies: None

Mascot: Tony the Tiger with distinct and unusual eye brow definition 

Color Scheme: Red, Navy – #2 team with the same color scheme

Team History: Historically great with multiple titles, but nothing in the modern era 

Analysis: This all comes down to my personal vendetta against using a tiger as your mascot. We deserve to live in a world where creativity and individuality are rewarded. With the tiger mascot being used for every third town from here to Los Angeles, I cannot in any way support a team with the big cat as its representative. I’ve never really been fond of Kias either. 

5. SY Wyverns (+450)

Former Phillies: Ricardo Pinto 

Mascot: Two mascots directly stolen from Pokemon, with a literal Charizard and Hoot-Hoot clone

Color Scheme: Red and Orange, a truly horrible duo together

Team History: 4-time champion and always 2nd or 3rd banana to Lions, Bears 

Analysis: I don’t really have anything against the Wyverns, but I can’t really say I have any feelings towards them either. The 5th spot feels like the perfect landing spot for a boring, successful team. 

4. KT Wiz (+1700)

Former Phillies: None

Mascot: The love child of Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends and Grimace in both black and white 

Color Scheme: Black and Red Uniforms, the cleanest in the league 

Team History: Only recently came into existence, independently owned (no corporate overlords), and never made the playoffs

Analysis: Without a rich history of losing, the KT Wiz just do not feel like the right selection. I’m on the fence with them because I do truly like their backstory, but just can’t pull the trigger. I would cheer for them against the Lions and Bears though. 

3. LG Twins (+750)

Former Phillies: Hyun Soon Kim

Mascot: An anime version of the Minnesota Twins’ mascots

Color Scheme: Literally the Minnesota Twins’ uniform 

Team History: Won two championships in the early 90s, but have not won since. This feels eerily similar to the Phillies prior to 2008. 

Analysis: With a similar history to the pre-2008 Phillies and the only active Korean-born Phillies alumni, this rocketed up the power rankings. Unfortunately, the lack of creativity with the uniforms, mascot, and general team branding ended that ascent in the bronze position.

2. Kiwoon Heroes (+500)

Former Phillies: None 

Mascot: A Crimson Chin look-alike named Mr. Jaw

Color Scheme: Maroon and White, a beautiful timeless combination 

Team History: They have never won a championship, but are always a competitive team. The perfect combination of enough success to bring you in mixed with enough loss to keep you humbled.

Analysis: Nearly rose to the be the cream of the crop on the strength of the mascot alone. I love the name Mr. Jaw and think it’s a hilarious representation of a team. What are his powers? What makes him a hero? Are they based off of a Nickelodeon character? All I know is that Mr. Jaw and last year’s home run leader were nearly enough to take the top spot. 

1. NC Dinos (+600)

Former Phillies: Aaron Altherr 

Mascot: Spyro the Dragon dipped in cotton candy 

Color Scheme: A nice powder blue, navy, white, and gold 

Team History: No championships yet, but only in existence since 2013. Always competitive, but have not yet been able to pull it all together. 

Analysis: Will this be the year for Dinos? They have been knocking on the door since the team’s inception. I always have and always will believe in Aaron Altherr. It was probably the moonshot in Lehigh Valley that I witnessed from my 10 dollar center field tickets with a hot dog wrapped in pulled pork and baked beans, but this man can chop the wood. Yes, if you read that you should go to minor league baseball games when you can again. The Dinos have great uniforms, a great mascot, and a former Phillie! Tough to beat.