Monday, 8 July 2013

Seeing a Baseball Game in Korea

One of the things I've been wanting to do ever since I got to Korea was to see a baseball game. It's one of the country's most popular sports, so much so that you'll constantly see it on TV screens in bars, restaurants and other public spaces across the country. In fact, one of the very first things I saw in Korea, minutes after arriving at Incheon International Airport, was a group of men watching a baseball game on a screen in the airport's arrival area:

Last Saturday, Angela and I finally got to see a baseball game ourselves at Jamsil Stadium. The game was fought between two major Korean teams: the Doosan Bears (the home team) and Samsung Lions (who are based in Daegu). Most of the major teams here are named after the corporations that sponsor them, with other major forces being the Lotte Giants (Busan), Kia Tigers (Gwangju) and LG Twins (Seoul).

An hour before the game started and Jamsil Stadium was already bustling with people.
Entering the stadium.

Watering down the diamond in preparation for the game.
Angela, down by the green.
We brought a supply of cold beers.

Pre-game warm-up.
Soon the game begins.
Some cheerleaders get the crowds going.

Lots of people cheered while beating these plastic batons together.

A player from the Doosan Bears gets a home-run.

More action from the cheerleaders...
...interspersed with cheesy Korean advertisements.

The "Kiss-Screen" - whoever it lands on has to kiss the person next to them.
Some Samsung Lions fans get their lighters out.
Fans cheer for another home-run.

The Doosan Bears win the game.

As crowds leave the stadium, a boy points to a stray balloon in the sky.
We stuck around to watch the stadium empty.

I had such a fun time watching a live baseball game here. I'd never seen one before, and knew little about the sport besides what I'd learnt from American movies. Fortunately, Angela did a great job explaining the rules to me, and I found it a lot more riveting than I was expecting. It really helped that the atmosphere was so electric, with crowds around us displaying such passion and dedication to their teams. I would love to see another game while I'm here, hopefully one with seats a little closer to the action!

To round off this post, here's a cool video someone took that day. It shows a Korean gymnast pitching a ball just before the actual game started. We actually missed this at the time (probably too busy drinking our Cass) so it was nice to come across it on the internet.

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