Seoul Baseball League
With the weather reaching into the heady teens it’s just about time to cast off your coats and think about all those healthy, outdoor weekend activities. Ryan Burda, who started the Seoul Baseball League with some like-minded friends four years ago, suggests making for the baseball diamond. Whether it’s learning a new sport or brushing up on some old skills, there’s a place on the pitch for you in a league that was at its best and most competitive over the last year and is looking to build on both its sporting and community links.
The Seoul Baseball League is running a four team tournament with games Saturday mornings at nine and twelve. As with last year, the games will be played at Gwacheon Complex, with fourteen to fifteen players drafted into each league. Ryan describes games as fun and competitive, with the best players in the past even participating in the top amateur division in the country as part of the Seoul ex-patriots team. Even if you don’t think you can scale those heights, there is plenty of room for every baseball skill set, ranging from college players to those who haven’t picked up a bat since elementary school or have never taken to the mound. And if you only feel like watching, there can always be beer and barbecues to build up the camaraderie.
All teams have sponsorship from affiliated bars in the Itaewon area, ensuring that the Seoul Baseball League offers entertainment in the evenings as well. The four bars sponsoring this year are Dillingers, Beer O’Clock, Sam Ryan’s and Route 66, with these fine establishments also putting on special nights for players (and those player’s friends) during the season. The season culminates with the play-offs and an end-of-season banquet to bring the curtain down on another successful season for an organisation dedicated to not just playing the sport and ex-pat fostering community spirit, but is also active in helping with local charities.
One such lucky charity is the Shinmang Orphanage in Gapyeoung for whom the League have raised three million won for over the past few years. The League became involved with the orphanage through one of the player’s churches and members of the team have gone there in order to play and coach baseball with the children. It’s an opportunity to give something back to a community that has helped many non-Koreans feel welcome over the years, and shows that there is more to the SBL than just bases and beers. So whether your skills (if any) lie in pitching, batting or fielding, embrace the new season with a chance to meet a great bunch of people passionate about both their sport and the people who play it.
League membership fees are 50,000 won for the season – end of March to late June. The season draft takes place on March 20th at Route 66 bar in Itaewon with all players drafted into teams based on their skills and past experience of the sport. Once the season starts, people are welcome to join but will be placed on a waiting list. Anyone interested in getting involved should head to the Seoul Baseball League Facebook page for further details.
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