Tickets for baseball games in Korea are more than affordable, as they range from 8,000-50,000won. Tickets are available online, at convenience stores, and also at the stadium ticket office 2-3 hours before the game starts. One of the Korean teams housed at Jamsil Stadium, the Doosan Bears, is especially convenient for foreigners as its website (www.doosanbears.com) sells tickets in English. The other team housed at Jamsil Stadium is LG Twins. Mokdong Stadium, in the meantime, houses the Nexen Heroes.
The experience of Korean baseball can be quite surprising for the uninitiated. Of course the stereotypical setup of the bustling crowds in the stadium, munching on hot dogs or fried chicken and slurping on ice cold beer is still the same (okay, the dried squid called ojingeo Korean fans chew on is not quite as common globally.) And yes, of course, the set up of the baseball diamond, though a bit smaller, is the same. But Korean baseball tends to focus more on the combination of the fans and the team as a whole, rather than just highlighting how well a few star players are doing.
More specifically, each team in the Korean league has several chants that fans will wholeheartedly perform, led by cute and perky cheerleaders at the front of the stands. Interestingly, team chants are often performed when the opposing team is up to bat, rather than vice versa. This seems to operate as a playful (though sometimes competitive) taunt against the other side. Also, fans often buy inflatable tubes to clap together for a more resounding applause, but for diehard fans, face paint, uniforms, and wigs in every color of the rainbow are a given.
The uncontested premier fan base of the Korean league, however, is definitely that of the Lotte Giants out of Busan. These fans are exceptionally loud in their chants and like to twist inflated orange bags on top of their heads to wear, sort of like bubble-headed goldfish. They are infamous for showing up early to games just to watch the warm-ups and cheer their favorite players ahead of time. "Lotte Giants fans are Yankees, Red Sox, and Cubs fans all in one. They′re more passionate than any major league team could ever dream of,” Jerry Royster, former Lotte Giants coach, is quoted as saying.
That said, an ideal baseball game to attend would be that of the Lotte Giants versus their nemesis the Doosan Bears in Jamsil Stadium. This lineup is never disappointing and always makes for an unforgettable game. Learning a few chants ahead of time will only further enhance the experience. If you’re lucky, you can also spot your favorite idol member throwing the first pitch. Don’t forget your clappers, and try some ojingeo while you’re at it. Let’s play ball!!!
Photo credit: 아우크소(Auxo.co.kr)′s flickr, Poetprince′s flickr