Batter Up: Baseball in Busan

Last night I did something I haven’t in a very long time and it took going to the other side of the world to do it.  I went to a baseball game.  I watched the Lotte (Busan) Giants pro baseball team play.  Lotte is this massive Japan-based conglomerate that owns everything from Macy’s-like shopping centers to, well, baseball teams.  The stadium is a bit smaller than what I’m used to back home, mainly the fact that there is only one level of seats and not the whole “nose bleed” section around the stadium.  There was one nose bleed, but only behind home plate.  In any case, it was still cool to be in a baseball stadium again.  I think the last game I saw was the Florida Marlins.

Stadium from outside.  See the McDonald’s delivery scooter?

Every player has their own song that people all sing when they get up to bat.  They also have a bunch of songs they sing throughout the game – some are still haunting me as I write this.  The funny thing is that all the songs are the melodies from obscure American songs like “What’s Up?” by 4 Non Blondes, “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister, and….Angels We Have Heard on High??  What tha?  These are always a popular choice for sporting events back home too!

Like most baseball games to me, the play was fast and furious.  NOT!  But thanks to all the hit songs made into their own little anthems, the wave (which was more like a “ripple” the way the fans either weren’t into it or didn’t get it), the questionably young cheerleaders, and orange grocery bags for our heads, it  turned out to be a great night.  I also loved how the vendors sell toasted squid.  No hot dogs in this stadium.  Beer and soju was readily available.  Some things just hit the same chord with everybody.

Sajik Baseball Stadium under the lights…and orange bags
Show your team spirit with a …. plastic shopping bag on your head?!?
The K-Pop style cheerleaders.  How old were they really??
Friends from EPIK orientation (Class 2) – Catherine and Lai

I learned that there are 8 teams total in the league since the country is so small.  I guess that would make for a short season and not a whole lot of variety, but hey, it’s better than nothing if you love baseball.

All in all it was a great night with a good group of people – teachers from my orientation class.  Oh, and the Giants won!!  It was actually a very good game right down to the final inning.  Could’ve gone either way.  Made for some “excitement” by baseball standards.  Sorry baseball fans.

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