I’m not a big fan of baseball but I was told by many people that baseball in Korea is worth a try. So of course, I took the recommendation and finally went to a baseball game at Jamsil stadium which is practically in my backyard.
A sporting event in North America means big bucks. In Korea, a great seat costs you 8,000 won (= $8) AND you have to tell them which team you are rooting for so they can give you the right seating area, but no assigned seating (yet they have seat numbers in movie theaters!).
I went to see an LG Twins vs Samsung Lions game ….
there are only 8 baseball teams in Korea and since this country is a corporation, their teams are owned and named after the company, not the city they originate from. Also, there is more than one team that come from Seoul, LG is one of them. Seeing that we were at their home stadium it made sense to root for them.
The baseball game itself was boring, as always. There barely any hits or runs. But the real entertainment wasn’t the game, it was the fans! Almost everyone had clappers and there was a small stage in front of the seats where the cheerleaders would dance and get the crowd going. There was also a man with a whistle who would co-ordinate cheers with the crowd. It was unbelievable!
And this was just the warm up. If and when there was a run, it was 20x more the excitement, cheering and dancing.
Koreans love their teams and are pretty damn loyal. Everyone wore colors of their team, but majority of the people wore team shirts, jerseys, towels, hats, you name it! Then again, a team jersey is only 13,000 won!!
I still don’t feel baseball is for me, even though they had guys walking around with beer kegs on their backs in the stadium, but I was really glad I did get to experience a real Korean baseball. I have never seen anything like it, and this was just a regular Sunday afternoon game. I wonder what the playoffs would be like!!
The one bad part about going to a sporting event in Korea though is the stank of dried fish and squid because in this country, there are no hot dogs and peanuts at the game. It’s dried seafood but thank goodness, there is plenty of beer.