Take me out to the Ball Game, Korean style

Take me out to the ball game?

Oh, why not. We’re in Korea, and the weather is finally, well, not snowing. We decided to hit up a Doosan Bears vs LG Twins game at Jamsil Stadium (if you’ve never heard of them, don’t worry, they’re not good). I realized after I spent half an hour on the sweaty-armpit-in-my-face rush-hour subway that the stadium is actually so close to where I live that I could have biked there in under ten minutes. As Mr. Torres, my highschool history teacher always said, hindsight is 20-20. Anyway. I got there.

Now, Korean baseball is one of those cultural gems that you absolutely must experience firsthand. Don’t get me wrong. I hate baseball. I’ve never been to a baseball game in my life, and for well thought-out reasons. It’s boring. Now, granted, having never actually been to a game, my only experience with the fat-man-chewing-tobacco-in-spandex-sport has been in front of a TV after the remote-control has been stolen from my hands and I’m too lazy to get up and fight for it. Nevertheless.

Korean Baseball could not be more different than the North American Major League. For one, the players are terrible. I counted 8 times that the player at bat sliced the ball and caused it to fly haphazardly backwards into the grandstand before I stopped counting.

Second of all, every time a new player comes up to bat, his face is blown up on every big screen in the stadium to the eruption of cheers from the adoring crowd. Normal, right? You know what’s not normal? Chants of “Mary had a little lamb” to accompany these cheers. I’m not even joking; there were times when the four of us found ourselves singing “fleece as white as snow” and looking at each other in amazement as some spandex-clad player stepped up to the plate. Only in Korea would they framework a professional-sporting cheer after a nursery rhyme.

Now I may not be a baseball expert, but I’ve been to my share of professional sporting events, and along with everybody else have been brainwashed into thinking that $8 is a reasonable price to pay for a stadium pint. Well, at a Korean baseball game, a tall boy will run you $3. Three dollars, folks. For that price, I can forget about the fact that the wayward ball has nearly hit me on the head half a dozen times.

And if you’re still not convinced, through some wonderful cultural miscommunication… Korea thinks that baseball is supposed to have cheerleaders.

It was such a fun game, and I can’t wait to catch another one soon. I daresay Korean baseball has, *achem*, changed my opinion on the sport? ; )