Baseball: Seoul Style


Before we even made it out of the subway station, fried chicken hawkers beckoned us into the convenience stores lining the stairs up to the Jamsil Baseball Stadium, which is tucked into a sports complex including the 1988 Olympic Stadium. We picked up two boxes of chicken and a few beers and headed up to the stadium.

The last professional baseball game I went to was a Mets-Expos game in Montreal in probably 2002, which also happened to be at a former Olympic field. I remember the hot dogs with relish and the Cracker Jacks, each costing far more than they would have mere feet outside the stadium. But Korean baseball doesn’t follow the rules.

Attendees are free to skip the stadium’s assortment of KFCs, Burger Kings and Dunkin Donuts, instead bringing their own dried squid, beers and the ubiquitous fried chicken.

Once we finally made it to our seats up in the nosebleeds, I found myself focused on just about everything except the game. The cheerleaders, the drums, the hype-man, all working in unison to keep the crowd on its feet. Cheering goes beyond stamping feet along to a Queen song, but rather full-body routines coached by the whistle-blowing hype-man perched on a white stage above the home team’s dugout.

It became clear after the first couple of innings that the LG Twins, one of Seoul’s home teams, weren’t taking any prisoners. The chanting helped put the the Twins into a 10-run lead by the third inning, and they held off the NC Dinos from scoring any runs for the rest of the game.

Blog by Matt Neuman / Photo by Skylar Rispens