Dodgers, Padres to face KBO clubs, S. Korean nat’l team before reg. season openers in Seoul

January 17, 2024

The Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres will face two South Korean professional clubs and the South Korean national team before their regular season openers in Seoul in March, the games’ organizers announced Tuesday.

The two Major League Baseball (MLB) clubs will take on the Kiwoom Heroes and the LG Twins of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) and the national team of the host country, Coupang Play said, adding that the schedule of these games will be announced later.

Coupang Play, a South Korean streaming service, will be the exclusive streaming platform and MLB’s presenting and marketing partner for the “Seoul Series” regular games on March 20 and 21, plus the aforementioned exhibition games.

The March 20-21 games will be the first MLB regular season games to be played in South Korea. These games will take place at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, home of the Heroes.

The Heroes and the Twins are former teams of two South Korean players on the Padres. Kim Ha-seong, their Gold Glove-winning infielder, played for the Heroes from 2014 to 2020 before moving to San Diego. Reliever Go Woo-suk signed with the Padres earlier this month after spending the past seven seasons with the Twins, the 2023 Korean Series champions.

Coupang Play also announced Tuesday that tickets for the Seoul Series games will go on sale on Jan. 26 on its website (, with further details to be announced at a future date.

The streaming service said tickets will only be open to dues-paying members of the Coupang Wow service, but it wasn’t immediately clear whether non-Korean speaking fans and non-Coupang Wow members from outside South Korea will be able to find tickets.

These historic games are expected to generate interest from fans in California and also in Japan, given the presence of Japanese stars on both teams.

This offseason, the Dodgers signed two-time American League most valuable player Shohei Ohtani to a record 10-year, US$700 million contract and also inked Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto to a 12-year deal worth $325 million, the largest contract for a pitcher in MLB history.

The Padres’ starting rotation features veteran Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish. They recently signed Japanese reliever Yuki Matsui.

Both teams enjoy strong support here because of their South Korean connection.

Park Chan-ho, the first South Korean to play in MLB, made his big league debut with the Dodgers in 1994. The club later had other South Korean players, such as infielder Choi Hee-seop and pitcher Seo Jae-weong. Another pitcher, Ryu Hyun-jin, pitched for the Dodgers from 2013 to 2019. In that final season as a Dodger, Ryu started the All-Star Game for the National League and finished second in the Cy Young Award voting.

Park, who also played for the Padres, is working as an adviser for the club’s baseball operations department. Kim became the first South Korean to win a Gold Glove last year, and Go will now join him in San Diego.