S.Korea shortens baseball games to help save environment

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The Independent Online

South Korea will speed up its baseball games and install energy-saving equipment at major parks as part of a "green sports" plan to cut emissions, officials said Friday.

Rules to shorten the duration of professional games will also make them more appealing to spectators, a baseball official said.

When the new season starts next month, a pitcher will have a maximum 12 seconds to throw the ball after the batter is ready.

If he breaches the time limit, a warning will be given the first time and each subsequent warning will be counted as a ball.

The park cleaning break after the fifth inning will be scrapped and replaced by short cleaning intervals in the third, fifth and seventh innings.

"Of course it will cut energy costs by shortening the duration of the game, but since the game will be more speedy, it will also make it much more interesting," Kim Yu-Jin, the manager and spokesman for the project, told AFP.

Solar-powered facilities will be installed in major stadiums and some lights will be replaced with energy-saving LEDs. Electric cars will be used to transport pitchers from the bullpen to the mound.

Seoul's Jamsil Stadium, one of seven pro-baseball venues nationwide, consumes more than 3,000 kilowatts during a night game while a household uses an average of 500 kilowatts a month, the Korea Times reported.

Baseball was introduced to Korea by US missionaries in the early 20th century. Baseball and football are now South Korea's top sports.