Take me out with the crowd, buy me some peanuts and crackerjacks……one song you definitely don’t hear at a Korean baseball game, but you do hear a plethora of others.
Each batter has their own song and when your team is up,recycled songs from the US with new lyrics are constantly being played to fire up the crowd. Nothing like hearing a Christmas song with new Korean lyrics in September at a baseball game in Korean to pump up the crowd. Unlike in the US where the batters song plays as they walk up to the plate and stops shortly after, here the song is continuously being played and sung while they are at bat. The song is also a made up song about the batter with his name placed throughout so the crowd can chant it. One of the batters lyrics was something saying handsome man and then after the crowd chanted “Lee Ho Min,” while another players songs lyrics was something saying the real handsome man and then the crowd chanted his name. You can only imagine the depth of the other players songs.
The constant noise singing and chanting while the batter is up to bat is one difference, another is that the fans from opposing teams sit on opposite sides of the stadium. So, when a team is up to bat only those teams fans are singing and making noise, while the other teams are quite. It was strange that there wasn’t any cheering for the pitcher when he had two strikes on the batter or if he struck a player out. The only exception was if one of the fielders made a catch. All the singing and chanting needs to be lead by somebody and they don’t use screens to do it. With that leads we have another one of our differences, Korean baseball games have cheerleaders and a cheer man organizing the chants. Intrigued by this new addition to a baseball game, I sometimes forgot that a game was being played. I’d look up at the scoreboard and see one out, turn to my friends and ask them, “when did somebody get out….?” Or “the inning started already….?” I wouldn’t be against borrowing this idea.
At US baseball games we have hot dogs, peanuts and crackerjacks, in Korea they have chicken and beer. You can’t go to a baseball game and not have chicken or beer. Maybe you can pass on the beer, but the chicken is a must. It’s like when you crack open an egg, you’re always going to get the yolk. You’re also allowed to bring your own food and drink into the stadium.
In the US we have a 7th inning stretch, in Korea it’s a 5th inning stretch.
I don’t know if it was just the game we went to, but when they needed to make a bullpen change the pitcher came out in a car. In one inning they changed pitchers three times, so the driver really got a workout.
And that’s about all that I can remember, I’m sure there were others, but those are the most memorable.
The game we went to was the Kia Tigers vs the Lotte Giants. Ohhh! another one is that all the teams are named after and sponsored by major Korean companies. Lotte is a conglomerate of different businesses, while Kia is Kia. The Tigers are/were the best team in Korea and represent the biggest city in the province I live in. The game we went to was a good game until the 8th when they let up 5 runs and ended up losing. That also put them in second place with one game to play. The score didn’t matter to me though, it was an interesting experience and I only spent 20,000₩ ($17,45) for the seats and chicken and 40,000₩ ($34.90) if you count the bus ticket.