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International jersey swap: 2 jerseys connect Binghamton, South Korea

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(WBNG) -- Nearly 7,000 miles separate Binghamton and Changwon, South Korea. Thanks to a local baseball fan, the cities are connected by two baseball jerseys.

Joe Strong started watching the Korean Baseball Organization when American baseball was shut down, waking up at 5 a.m. nearly every morning to watch his favorite team - the NC Dinos. Joe said the Dinos are his favorite because they're the best team, and he liked the name.

Joe has collected baseball memorabilia since he began watching in the 1990's. His father Dale said he wanted to reach out to the Dinos to add to the collection.

"I thought, I'm going to see if I can get him a hat. He gets hat for every team he follows," said Dale. "Because Joe wears a size 8, in Korea they don't make it that big. So I let it go, that was the end of the conversation."

Instead, the email thread turned into the beginning of a bond formed across the World.

The NC Dinos unexpectedly sent Joe a team jersey.

"I didn't even know they were thinking about sending me one. I was like 'no way,'" said Joe.

The Strong's returned the favor.

"I said, 'maybe I can get you a Binghamton jersey from our Double-A team,'" said Dale. "He [NC Dinos employee] said 'oh that would be great. We'll put it on our archive and put your name next to it.'"

Dale's other son Andrew, donated a Rumble Ponies jersey from his store - Parlor City Cards & Collectibles - to send to the NC Dinos. The Dinos will put it on display with Joe's name alongside it.

Dale said he hopes this connection continues to grow. "They're big baseball fans, big baseball fans and they want to know more about American baseball. So I think this is opening a door if you will."

Joe is still in disbelief, saying this is by far the coolest piece of his collection.

He says he will keep the jersey for the rest of his life.

Nicole Menner

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