5 Reasons Korean Baseball is the Best
Baseball may be an American pastime, but I never realized what a sorry experience it is to catch a game live in the U.S. until I witnessed the glorious Korean baseball fan experience. There’s no denying that Major League Baseball in the U.S. is still the world’s premier league. However, the fans of Korea Baseball Championship seem to have a lot more fun than their U.S. counterparts.
BYOB and More
Fans are encouraged to bring in their own food and beer to the games. Even soju – the popular hard liquor – is permitted. Outside the stadium, KFC, McDonald’s and other vendors put their food in boxes so they can easily be transported inside the stadium. If you’re in need a refill, there are convenience stores in the
stadium selling can pints for $3, which is a very fair price in Seoul. It’s a far superior experience to the gouging going on in the U.S.
Yes, the several girls in short shorts for each team are lovely. It’s the man in the uniform that does all the hard work and gets the crowd involved. Whenever their team is batting, the cheerleader coordinates the chants and smoothly dances on the stages. It’s because of these cheerleaders that the fans are so involved, which brings me to my next point.
I was once told by a stranger to stop talking while at a baseball game in the states. Professional baseball fans rarely cheer, and I’ve seen people sleeping at games. There’s something of a funeral vibe going on. That wasn’t the case in Korea, where fans – with the help of their cheerleaders – regularly chant and get involved in the action. They’re loud yet very polite and good-natured. It’s a far cry from the Yankees fan who told an eight-year-old me to “get the fuck out of here” when wearing the opposing team’s hat.
I’m not sure how Koreans feel about public drunkenness at sporting events. Lots of people were drinking, and in the middle of the innings the stadium sanctioned a drinking contest on the field. Even with all that beer, all the fans are passionate and energetic. I’m glad I didn’t know the chants or I would have been exhausted reciting them all day.
I adore Mr. Met and other goofy mascots, but the twin siblings representing the Twins were a delight that would probably be sued for their actions in the U.S. One of the sisters was wondering around the stadium before the game, hitting guys in the butt with her bat and “introducing” guys and girls in a funny yet silent attempt at hooking them up. Later, the twin boys did some awesome breakdancing.
As quiet as baseball games in America can be, there’s always the walking vendors who insist on shouting about their peanuts and cold beer. Anyone can see these guys walking by (and sometimes obstructing the view), so why they shout is beyond me. In Korea, the guy with the keg attached to his back simply raises a cup. No further action is a needed. The gesture is universal and transcends languages. I loved it.
The Korean baseball season lasts from April to October and all the information you could possibly need is on the Homeplate website.
I'm an American freelance writer who spent a couple years living in Cambodia. Now I'm on the move again and traveling all over the place. I'm willing to try any bizarre liquor that's presented to me. Any recommendations?