Take Me Out to the Korean Ballgame

I finally got to see a baseball game in Asia.

Mokdong Stadium, Seoul
Mokdong Stadium, Seoul

I could go in Japan because I was there during the playoffs, and good luck getting a ticket for that. I tried again in Taipei, but the ballpark was difficult to get to–about an hour and a half from central Taipei by train and bus. Getting to a ballgame in Korea is just easier.

The pitchers in the home team bullpen look a bit bored
The pitchers in the home team bullpen look a bit bored

My coworker made getting to the game even easier–she lives near Mokdong Stadium, which is only about 40 minutes on the metro from my apartment. I have been talking to her about going to a game since my first week here–I suppose I was finally annoying enough that she agreed to get tickets.

Play ball! I have no idea who's at bat
Play ball! I have no idea who’s at bat

It’s not easy getting into a game when you have no idea who the players are and you don’t have a favorite team. I just went along with the Nexen Heroes because they were the home team. But it was an semi-entertaining game. There were a lot of home runs (hit by the visiting team), and a 9th inning rally by the home team that was just too little, too late.

The Nexen Heroes mascot is no Mr. Met
The Nexen Heroes mascot is no Mr. Met

I learned quite a bit about Korean baseball. Even the visiting team brings cheerleaders to its section–and they were quite loud while their team was at bat. And Korean teams have a lot of chants and songs for fans to sing. I also learned that the Korean pronunciation of Heroes has four syllables (I thought I only heard three, but I was corrected). If I lived here, I’d have to learn Korean to sing along with the team songs.

The programs have quite a few pages of fashion advice
The programs have quite a few pages of fashion advice

Seats in the outfield, from third base outward, are not assigned–you can sit wherever you want with those tickets. And the stadium doesn’t care if you bring your own food and beer into the stadium–we bought a few beers at the grocery store and fried chicken in the parking lot; other spectators brought in pizza. And concessions weren’t nearly as overpriced as Yankee Stadium (or any ballpark in the US for that matter).

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