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Hot Stove League debut: Namgoong Min and Park Eun-Bin’s baseball K-Drama on SBS is almost a home run

Hot Stove League -- K-Drama
Namgoong Min and Park Eun-Bin lead the cast in the new baseball K-drama, Hot Stove League. Pic credit: Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS)

Earlier this week, the Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) — the Korean public network famous for numerous K-drama including The Fiery Priest and The Last Empress — debuted their newest series, a baseball K-drama titled Hot Stove League (스토브리그).

Also known as Stove League, the K-drama reunites Hallyu stars Namgoong Min and Park Eun-Bin from Hur Jun, The Original Story. The series hopes to portray a unique tale centered on baseball with a bit of a comedic twist.

Thankfully, many are finding the series entertaining, and after its debut, it almost hit a home run compared to other K-dramas debuting or airing at the same time.

From the worst to the best

Before providing a synopsis for the plot of Hot Stove League, it is best to describe what a hot stove league is in baseball. In the sport, the hot stove league is the baseball off-season.

The phrase does not refer to an actual league but centers around baseball fans gathering around a hot stove during cold winter months, discussing baseball teams and players.

These days, the term refers to the numerous transactions in baseball that occur during the off-season. This includes contract negotiations, re-signings, trades, and free agents. It also includes rumors and speculations about possible trades.

Concerning the K-drama, Lee Se-Young (Park Eun-Bin) is the only woman manager in the league, and she is passionate about the Dreams, the worst team in the league.

Though she’s been managing for ten years, she never gives up. Soon, a new manager joins the Dreams in Baek Seung-Soo (Namgoong Min). He doesn’t have a pleasant personality, but he determines to make the worst team into the best.

With that in mind, it is currently the hot stove league, and the two managers work together during this time to “polish” the Dreams team.


Almost a home run in viewership

Hot Stove League started well in viewership both domestically and internationally. In South Korea, the series contains 32 thirty-minute episodes, two episodes airing on Friday and Saturday each.

According to AGB Neilsen Korea, the first episode earned 3.3 percent for the nation. By the end of the fourth episode, it had risen to 7.9 percent for the nation. It was so close to double-digit viewership, thus marking it a “home run.”

Internationally, specifically in the Americas, Hot Stove League has an overall average rating of 9.3 out of 10 stars but only out of 29 ratings. We will see how the average changes over time. Right now, the average is excellent.

With the chameleon-like acting and star power of Namgoong Min headlining the lead cast, Hot Stove League should be a hit as time goes by. For fans interested in the series, it airs on Fridays and Saturdays, two episodes per day starting at 11 p.m. KST.

For international fans, specifically for those living in the Americas, Hot Stove League is currently available on Rakuten Viki. Right now, the first two episodes are free-to-watch, but the series is only available to VikiPass Plus members.

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