Baseball Australia chief executive Cam Vale says Geelong-Korea remains committed to Geelong despite hitting the road for the entire 2020/21 Australian Baseball League season.
The ABL’s revamped structure – which was announced this morning – will likely see GK spend the entire season in a hub in New Zealand as part of the newly formed International Conference.
Vale said it was bitterly disappointing Geelong-Korea would not be based out of Geelong for the upcoming summer but a decision had to be made now in the midst of ongoing challenges presented by COVID-19.
"The impact of COVID-19 poses plenty of challenging logistical issues for the ABL and Geelong-Korea are among the hardest hit," Vale said.
"With restrictions on both international and state borders and mandatory quarantine periods, combined with the current situation in Victoria, it threatened GK’s ability to compete this season.
"By basing them in New Zealand for the entire season we’ve given them the best chance to take part in the upcoming season."
Geelong-Korea will play 24 games in the hub, which will include hosts Auckland Tuatara, the Adelaide Giants, Brisbane Bandits and possibly another international expansion team.
The Canberra Cavalry, Melbourne Aces, Perth Heat and Sydney Blue Sox will compete in the Australian Conference.
Vale said Geelong-Korea and Australian baseball was still very committed to Geelong long-term.
"If it was not for COVID-19 Geelong-Korea would be based in Geelong for a third-straight year," he said.
"This is a decision out of necessity to ensure we give ourselves and GK the best chance of having an ABL season."
Greater Geelong Mayor Stephanie Asher said she understood the decision not to base the team in Geelong this season.
"We will miss not having Geelong-Korea here, but in the current uncertain environment the logistical challenges would have been too great," Cr Asher said.
"We are very pleased though that the team has committed to returning post COVID-19.
"Local baseball fans will support them from afar this season and importantly, they will continue to proudly carry the Geelong name."
Baseball Australia's full announcement can be read here