The Dodgers and Padres will kick off the 2024 MLB season with an opening series in Seoul, South Korea. This will be the first time in MLB history that regular season games will be played in the East Asian nation. The series is scheduled to take place from March 20 to 21.
The Dodgers historically have had strong ties to South Korea, as noted by Dodgers President and CEO Stan Kasten.
“We can't wait to play meaningful Major League games for the very first time in front of the outstanding baseball fans of Korea next season. The Dodgers have a long and proud history of helping to grow the game abroad, highlighted by our trips to Mexico, China and Australia. It's very exciting to add Korea to the list. I know our players are thrilled to put their talents on display in a country so rich with baseball tradition and talent, including former Dodgers Chan Ho Park, Hee-Seop Choi and Hyun-Jin Ryu,” Kasten said, via Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic.
Of course, the Padres have ties to South Korea as well. Infielder Ha-Seong Kim was born in Seoul, and the 27-year-old played in South Korea professionally in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) before signing with the Padres in 2020 and making his major league debut in 2021.
The Padres and Dodgers have had their rivalry renewed over the last few seasons, with Los Angeles eliminating San Diego in the 2020 National League Division Series, and the Padres returning the favor in the 2022 NLDS. Both teams have plenty of familiarity with one another, but the travel time for this particular series will be a little different. The usual two-hour bus drive between Petco Park and Chavez Ravine will now be replaced by a 13-hour flight to Seoul.
MLB will have a total of three sets of international games next year. A two-game series in London on June 8 to 9 between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies was announced last month.
MLB also said the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays will play spring training games at Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on March 9-10.
The international opener will be MLB’s ninth, following 1999 in Monterrey, Mexico; 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2019 in Tokyo; 2001 in San Juan, Puerto Rico; and 2014 in Sydney.