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Xavier Scruggs Comes Full Circle as ESPN Analyst in Seoul

EDITORS: NOTE: You can view the final game of the Seoul Series on ESPN Thursday, March 21. Coverage begins at 5:30 a.m. ET with first pitch at 6:05 a.m.

Scruggs on the set of Baseball Tonight (ESPN Images)

It’s a full-circle moment for ESPN Baseball analyst Xavier Scruggs, returning to South Korea after playing in the KBO League for the KC Dinos in 2017 and 2018. Scruggs appeared on ESPN’s broadcasts as it brought sports back during a global pandemic, and now he is on the other side as an ESPN analyst. 

The Seoul Series is a homecoming for Scruggs as this is his first time in Korea since his playing days. During his visit to Seoul with his family as the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres face off, he took part in a Q&A:

Scruggs playing for the DC Dinos of the KBO League (Xavier Scruggs)

When you first learned you had the opportunity to play in the KBO League, what were you looking forward to most about South Korea?

I was most looking forward to diving into a new culture I wasn’t too familiar with. I was also excited to be a part of one team, striving for one goal to win a championship. I knew I didn’t have to worry about trying to prove myself and finally, I could just go out and play my game without worrying if I was going to be going up or down from the major leagues to AAA.

How would you describe the love for baseball in South Korea? What is the crowd atmosphere like?​

The love for baseball in South Korea is a passion unlike any I’ve ever experienced. The fan bases are cheering, dancing and singing songs no matter the score — whether their team is up or down 10 runs, the fans are always into the game. It’s like a Duke-North Carolina basketball game atmosphere. Fans are not on their phones, and they’re locked into every single pitch of the game.

What did you learn most about playing in Korea? ​

I learned how to change my perspective both in baseball and lifestyle. I realized how important it was to not be stuck in my own ways and believing my way was the best way to do things. In Korean culture, you learn how important it is to respect one another. I learned how important it is to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes and how important relationship building and communication is to success in any aspect of life.

Scruggs trying different foods in Seoul (Xavier Scruggs)
Scruggs and his family together in Downtown Seoul (Xavier Scruggs)

Going back with your family, how special is this series for you personally?

This series is extremely special for me and my family. It’s a chance to revisit nostalgic memories in Korea, but it also gave us a reason to bring back our son who was born here during my second year in the KBO League. Korea represents a time that shaped our family for the better in such a significant way. 

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