Why Korean loves the Baseball game ②

In the continuation of the previous article, let’s discuss more what Koreans do to enjoy professional baseball games.

First of all, korean baseball game has a fascinating cheering culture. Some people might say that they go to the stadium not just to enjoy the game, but also to sing and yell for cheering. Baseball fans participate in the cheering with cheerleaders- all teams in the KBO league have their own cheerleading squads. The squad has one captain and five or six members. They performed on a small stage in front of infield seats.

The KBO teams and players have their own theme songs that have different lyrics on the same melody of existing songs. For example, there are songs for each situation such as checking a runner of the opposing team. Cheerleaders play the designated songs and to connect the fans to the players as a part of the game.

This enthusiastic KBO cheering culture is quite different from that of the USA. Major league fans keep their calm during the game and make noises when applauding for home-run hitters. However in Korea, cheerleading teams encourage the fans to make some noise with outdoor speakers and microphones. It’s almost a concert. Plus, Korean fans have more to enjoy- small events between innings(short time for switching the position). Any fan can participate in events such as kiss cam, showing on a large video screen in the stadium.

Cheering by fans of Doosan Bears (Image Source: xsportsnews)

Second, there are various cheering tools for each team. To Doosan Bears fans have white balloons - now the flash of mobile. Lotte Giants fans put orange plastic bags on the head to cheer their team.

Around 5 and 6 innings is when the game is most exciting and time for passionate cheering. Cheerleaders give out the cheering tools and even fans prepare the tools from home, and share with others. The souvenir shop sells these merchandise- cheering tools, uniforms, ball caps or etc.

Third, food at the stadium. You can try all types of foods with draft beer at the stadium. Since stadiums are based in their homeground cities, they sell local foods. For example, Suwon city is well known for its fried chicken, having the area called chicken streets. You can try Suwon-style at one of the restaurants opened in the Suwon KT Wiz Park. Other stadiums boast their local foods as well.

During the 2020 regular season, Korean baseball grabbed the spotlight. They continued to play games in an empty stadium with no audience and air the games by broadcasting. In the meantime, ESPN(the biggest sports network in the US) announced to broadcast the Korean baseball games to USA baseball fans. They even provided the guideline to better enjoy the Korean baseball games.

Of course there are different codes in between Korea and the USA. Out of all these differences, the most astonishing for Major league fans is the bat-flipping. The bat-flipping is a performance that hitter tosses away the bat in celebration after a hit. It is a taboo in Major league, being considered almost an insult to the opposing team. However in Korea, the bat flipping has been a part of the game and one of extra entertainment for fans.

Also in 2017, the Korean-style theme song was played in Milwaukee, USA. It was Eric Thames’s theme song, former player of NC Dinos of Korean Baseball League. Although he was transferred to Milwaukee Brewers of Major League, his korean theme song was so catchy, it went viral among his teammates and fans. That’s why they adopted and played this song for his entrance. It could be said another case of K-wave.

The cheering culture of Korean Baseball is full of energy. Fans are participating in the game as a supporter and one of the cheer team. They are open-minded to mingle with people sitting around their seats, even share the foods with one another. I’m sure that both baseball fans and those who don’t know much about baseball can enjoy the games. You should definitely go to a baseball game when you come to Korea, to enjoy the passion of the KBO league!

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