Take me out to the ballgame ... in Korea!

by Randy Behr
Stripes Korea

There is nothing like smelling green grass, eating peanuts, drinking a warm beer (sarcasm) while listening to the baseball ricocheting off the bat on a beautiful spring day!  Well, at least I think so.

I know what you’re thinking: if you have seen one game of baseball you have seen them all.  Not exactly.  I understand there is a lot of standing around (this is intentionally. by the way to allow the pitcher to recover between pitches) but if you can get past this then you are up for a great experience.

1. “Thundersticks” or “Bangers -These long cylinder air-filled sticks originated in South Korea and it is a site to see when the stadium waves these things around in synchronicity.

2. Korea has rules to “speed-up” the game in terms of shortening the game. A sigh of relief.

3. Fundaments -They rely on a finesse game. Specifically, you will see more sacrificing, bunting, stealing, hit and runs, advancing runners and hitting behind runner’s (Baseball jargon) on offense.  Defensively, they hit the “cut off”, play defense very well and really “work the corners” from a pitcher’s perspective. So, for all of you Baseball “Purists” this is good news.

4. The baseball experience -In the last 10-15 years baseball has changed. It is an event for the entire family from the interacting booths, the stadium to the entertainment. For instance, you will notice Dominos, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Burger King, Smoothie king and an assortment of other coffee shops and other restaurants while strolling around the park.

5. Carry-ins are welcome -If “fast-food” doesn’t interest you then bring in your own food and beverages.  Please remember though if you bring bottles they must be poured into plastic cups, which are provided at the gates.

6. Cheerleader’s -They stand on top of the dugout and lead choreographed moves with the crowds.

7. An“MC” for the younger crowd whom gets the stadium rocking with his energy and humor along with the music that pumps everyone up!  The words were in Korean, but the beats are recognizable such as Queen’s famous “We Will Rock You.”

8. A live drummer -A percussion team with two drummers’ giving new meaning to thunderous booms.

9. Children friendly - Nursing and play area, internet games, rides for family and other activities such as renting a stroller or “child care” with a qualified staff.

10. No smoking allowed in the stadium, but if you need to there are designated areas.

The experience we had at the game was amazing. I highly recommend that you give Korean baseball a try whether you’re single, married or a family or whether you’re a sports fan or not you will not be disappointed.

If this sounds fun take a look at the Korean Baseball Organization team’s and find your local team as it just a subway ride away!

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