7 memorable moments from the Seoul Series opener

March 20th, 2024

The 2024 season is off to a memorable start. Major League Baseball officially arrived in South Korea with the Dodgers' 5-2 victory over the Padres on Wednesday night. (Or, if you were watching from the United States, Wednesday morning.)

Game 2 will start at 7:05 p.m. Seoul local time on Thursday, or 6:05 a.m. ET/3:05 a.m. PT on Thursday morning. The game will stream in the U.S. on MLB.TV and will also be televised locally on SportsNet LA in Los Angeles. A national telecast will be available on ESPN.

Fans in San Diego, Tijuana and the Padres' home territory can watch both games live or on demand for FREE on PADRES.TV, the re-branded streaming option for all regular-season Padres games. Fans can also tune in to watch the games live on ESPN or listen on 97.3 The Fan and XEMO-AM La Poderosa 860.

After the game, an archive of the broadcast will be available for free.

Here's a recap of the biggest moments from Game 1 of the Seoul Series:

Familiar faces

Who else but to throw the ceremonial first pitch for a game between the Padres and Dodgers in Seoul? Thirty years ago, Park became the first Korean player in the big leagues when he broke through with the Dodgers. Now, he's an advisor in the Padres' front office (who played a role in the recruitments of and ).

“Thirty years ago, I could never have imagined everything that has occurred to this point,” Park said prior to the game in Korean.

Kim was behind the plate to catch the pitch, as Park went to the lengths of using his glove from his 1994 debut season.

In a nice touch, Park wore a half-Padres, half-Dodgers jersey. (Let's go ... Padgers?)

Also in attendance was former Dodgers lefty , who visited with his former teammates before the game. Ryu is now back in Korea after signing an eight-year deal with the Hanwha Eagles, whom he previously pitched for from 2006-12.

Opening ceremonies

From the start, the atmosphere at the Gocheok SkyDome was a festive one. The pregame festivities got underway about half an hour before first pitch with a concert featuring the K-pop group Aespa and an accompanying light show. Shortly thereafter, lineups and managers were introduced with Kim and (predictably) drawing the loudest ovations.

After a moment of silence for beloved Padres owner Peter Seidler, who passed away in November, Lena Park gave a rousing rendition of both the American and Korean national anthems.

Ohtani's big day

Ohtani's first at-bat was an eventful one, with stealing second base, then returning to first after umpire interference … only to be forced out at second when Ohtani bounced to short.

But Ohtani would make his presence felt soon enough. He notched his first Dodgers hit in the third -- a 112.3-mph missile off -- and promptly tallied his first career steal.

Then, Ohtani capped the Dodgers' furious eighth-inning rally, plating with a single to left. As debuts go, 2-for-5 with a steal and an RBI ain't bad.

“The biggest thing is that we got that 'W' and the way we got it,” Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. “Coming back late in the game like that proves that we’re a really good team.”

Kim back in Seoul

In the ballpark where he spent seven seasons playing for the KBO's Kiwoom Heroes, Kim homered twice on Monday in an exhibition against the LG Twins.

He received a rousing ovation on Wednesday and paused to salute the crowd before stepping into the box. Kim would finish 0-for-3 with a walk and a strong defensive play to end the top of the fourth inning.

Prior to the game, Kim had gifted each of his teammates a traditional Korean garment known as “hanbok” -- in Padres gold.

“I wanted to give them memories that they'll remember for a long time,” Kim said through interpreter David Lee. “So I figured that these gifts would make a big impact during this Seoul Series trip.”

Darvish's escape act

The Dodgers loaded the bases in the top of the third inning, forcing Darvish to throw 34 pitches in the frame and prompting the first drama of the 2024 season. With the bases loaded and two outs, worked a full count against Darvish, who proceeded to blow a fastball past him at the top of the zone.

Darvish let loose a scream and a fist pump as he left the mound. With a limited pitch count, Darvish would pitch 3 2/3 innings, allowing only an unearned run. He was excellent, but the Dodgers' ability to get into the Padres' bullpen early would prove pivotal.

Game recognize game

Who was on hand for 's big league debut? The last player younger than Merrill to start in center field on Opening Day, that's who.

was in the photo well Wednesday, snapping pics during Merrill’s first at-bat. The Padres' No. 2 prospect and MLB Pipeline's No. 12 overall, Merrill lined out to center, advancing the runner as part of a rally that would open the scoring.

Merrill would finish 0-for-3, though he handled center smoothly, despite having only begun playing the position earlier this spring. He joined Griffey and Andruw Jones as the only players in the past 50 years to start Opening Day in center field before turning 21.

Through the webbing?!

In their game-winning, eighth-inning rally, the Dodgers took the lead in just the strangest possible fashion.

Kiké Hernández had tied the game at 2 with his sacrifice fly when the Padres called for left-hander to face Lux with runners on first and second. Morejon got the ground ball he needed -- but it went through the glove of Padres first baseman .

Literally, through it.

The grounder physically broke the webbing of Cronenworth’s first-base glove and trickled into right field, allowing the go-ahead run to score. It was a brutal bit of misfortune for the Padres, with the difference between an RBI single and a double play accounting for 43% on the win-probability scale.

“I thought it was an easy double play,” Cronenworth said. “I caught it on the first bounce, and you know, that's the way it goes. … It sucks. I don't know what else to say.”

L.A. promptly took advantage against the Padres’ bullpen, as Betts and Ohtani followed with RBI singles. The Dodgers led 5-2 -- and hung on to win by that very score in a back-and-forth Seoul Series opener.

Round 2 is tomorrow.