Baseball Reflections from South Korea



Spring in Korea means many things, such as polluted air courtesy of China, more people crowding onto the subway, and of course, something one always needs, more vendors selling larva worms as a snack on the street. But there is one thing that spring brings in Korea that is reminiscent of home and that is BASEBALL!

The Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) is made up of nine MLB-comparable teams. Here they are:

Lotte Giants
SK Wyverns
Samsung Lions
Woori Heroes (whooooo! hooo!!!)
Doosan Bears
LG Twins
Hanwha Eagles
Kia Tigers

I am officially an Woori Heroes fan. LG is the most popular team. They have a huge fan base. Kind of like the Red Sox maybe? The Samsung Lions are like the Yankees – they win a lot but they also have all the money. The Woori Heroes are like the Angels or the Astros. They were only recently moved to Mokdong (near me) and bought by Woori (a tobacco company). They were formerly the Hyundai Unicorns. I’m glad that’s no longer the case. Unicorns is just about the least baseball-y name I can think of. Although come to think of it “Angels” isn’t that great either.

The Woori Heroes have a “new” stadium. The stadium wasn’t too impressive in that it’s kind of dated but it was a decent size and the field was beautiful. A few of the stadiums have real grass but Woori’s doesnt. The baseball atmosphere here was the same, if not better, than it is back home. Fans get “thunder sticks”, these inflatable cheering devices that gain their name from the loud noise they make when you beat them together. They’re a great addition to baseball games in my opinion. Just like at home fans make signs and posters. Unlike the stingy stadiums at home, you can bring any food or drink you want into the stadiums here. Or, if you want to buy food at the game you will find all the snacks the same exact price as anywhere else. Now its not America so they are serving gimbap and ramyeon in lieu of hot dogs and nachos but everything is dirt cheap. No $7.00 small fry here!

Two funny things about Korean baseball games:

1. Because you are allowed to bring food in, tons of fans stop at fast food joints along the way to pick up a snack. We saw people with KFC, McD’s, Burger King, and even entire pies from Pizza Hut. So there might not be hot dogs at the game but you can bring your own greasy food to simulate the American baseball experience.

2. There are cheerleaders at baseball games here! Not pyramid-making backflip-doing cheerleaders, just four girls who danced around on the dug out and led the crowd through chants and fight songs. And of course danced with the mascot (haven’t figured out what he is yet). They even had a “kiss cam” during the – well here’s another strange thing. There is no 7th inning stretch. It’s at the end of the 6th inning instead. Kind of makes sense, it’s closer to the middle of the game.

Well, that’s about it on Korean baseball. That’s all for now!

A round at the battin cages after the game: $0.50
A coke at the stadium: $1
Ice cream cone at the game: $1.50
Front row seats on first base line: $6
Seats right behind home plate: $8
Box seats with your own table, snacks, and bathroom: $14
Watching a game that transcends age, gender, language, culture, and geography: priceless

Kayla Wilson is the sister-in-law of Baseball Reflections owner/writer Peter Schiller and is currently teaching English in South Korea just south of Seol.

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