There are currently 8 teams in the Korean Baseball Organization: Doosan Bears, Hanwha Eagles, Kia Tigers, Samsung Lions, Lotte Giants, LG Twins, Woori Heroes, and SK Wyverns. The teams are referred to by the company that sponsors them, not by the city they are from. The first pro game was played in 1982 and since then, baseball has become one of the country's top sports.
In Korea, the game is the same but the crowds make it a whole different story! There was non-stop cheering, chanting, and singing. The crowd was waving and clapping inflatable sticks as cheerleaders urged them to be as loud as they could be. If you could capture the fans' energy in the ballpark, it would surely light a small city! It was exhilarating simply to be sitting amidst the undulating sea of enthusiastic baseball fans.
Having been at some pro games in the States, we wondered if we would be allowed to take a backpack into the park. Turns out that people not only had backpacks, they also had coolers of drinks and bags of food! There were vendors outside selling Kentucky Fried Chicken meals, pizza delivery guys driving around on scooters selling pizzas, a mini Burger King where you could order food to go, and numerous other vendors and stores selling food, snacks, popcorn, and dried fish. Inside the ballpark there were vendors walking up and down the sections selling snacks and drinks from trays they carried. The only thing we didn't see available at this ballpark was hot dogs. Compared to the prices in American ballparks, the food and drinks here were inexpensive. No $10 beers here - try $2.50!
Apparently KFC and Office Depot are Korean ballpark sponsors!
Each team had a male "cheerleader" who led the crowd in songs and chants throughout the game.
Each team also had a dance/cheer squad that appeared between innings to perform for the crowd.
The home team's dance squad was shown on the big screen whenever they performed.
For about a $1 a piece, you could buy some inflatable "cheer sticks" or "thundersticks" to amplify your cheering. People waved and clapped them in unison to the chants and songs they sang, and they beat them with a fury when cheering for their team. The noise created when the whole crowd uses them is impressive!
There were many songs sung throughout the game. Some were familiar tunes but had Korean lyrics. We heard songs sung to the tune of When Johnny Comes Marching Home, Karma Chameleon, Mustang Sally, Livin' la Vida Loca, Surfin' USA, That's the Way I Like It, and Mary Had a Little Lamb.
The noise level in the video below was constant throughout the entire game! Notice how in unison the white thundersticks are after the first pitch.
This is ingenious! This vendor has a small insulated keg on his back and was walking around selling cold draft beer! Why don't they have this at American ballgames? Can you imagine how popular you would be at any party with one of these strapped on your shoulders? ;)
The weather was perfect for a ballgame and the sunset over the field was spectacular!
"Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the
Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona."
~George F. Will