The national sport of India and Nepal is cricket, a game I couldn’t understand let alone get into. While baseball is not my favorite sport, when we heard that Koreans were crazy about it I couldn’t resist buying some tickets to a game while we were in Seoul. Below are seven of the biggest differences we noticed between Korean and American baseball.
7. I Have to Sit Where?
You’ll see the first of many differences before you even get into the stadium. When purchasing tickets to the game you’re asked who you’re going to root for. That’s because seats on the first base line are designated for the home team fans while seats on the third base line reserved for fans of the visiting team. When we found out the home team in Seoul was the Bears we had no choice but to root for them.
6. Make Some Noise!!
Mid-season baseball isn’t exactly heart-pumping excitement, but don’t tell that to fans in Korea! Audience participation is guaranteed with the use of thousands of “thunder sticks” – inflatable plastic tubes that make a ton of noise when rhythmically struck together.
We forgot to pick up a set before going to the game so I made do with a couple of empty 1.5 liter plastic beer bottles we happened to have with us.
5. Cheerleaders for Baseball?!
Every intermission between innings brings the chearleaders out on stage for a dance routine. Costume changes are regular. Dedicated male chearleaders lead the many chants that the entire stadium seems to know.
4. Well, at Least They’re Better than Little League
While I couldn’t judge the batting and pitching too much from the stands, there were at least five fielding errors during the game – something that is very uncommon in American baseball. Maybe they were just having an off-day.
3. Drinking Games on the Jumbotron
That’s right. There’s no kiss-cam, but instead you get to watch drinking games for prizes among audience members on the jumbotron.
The below drinking game resulted in a tie, followed by a dance-off!
2. Creepy Mascots
The mascot for the Bears was so drunk he had trouble standing up on his own. And I’m not sure what’s going on in this photo.
1. I Can Bring WHAT into the Stadium?!
By far the biggest difference from attending a game in the States is that you are allowed to bring your own alcohol into the stadium. Burger King, KFC, and vendors selling Korean snacks such as dried squid and fish are available inside, but most people bring their own beer and anything from chinese food to pizza.
If you forgot to buy beer before the game (or ran out as we did) you can buy a cold one from guys wearing small kegs on their backs. The price for a large beer was a very reasonable $3.
We heard that the games in other Korean cities aren’t quite as lively, so if you have a chance we’d definitely recommend seeing a game in Seoul. It was a fun cultural experience that also made us feel right at home. Dare I say American baseball games would be more exciting with some of these Korean additions?