Before I came to South Korea to teach English, I had no idea just how big baseball was here. However, having been here five months already, I can tell it is a BIG deal. From the many stadiums, to the kids in my classes wearing their team jerseys and even their little league uniforms, there is no question about it, baseball is big here in South Korea. In Ireland, where I am from, baseball is not big at all, in fact I don’t even think I know anyone who has watched a game! So, I decided to go see my first game while here in South Korea. The game I went to see was The Samsung Lions vs The Dinos.
(The Baseball Diamond: There were many mascots on the field, also.)
Seeing as The Samsung Lions are Daegu's (where I live) home team, it was an obvious choice to support them. My decision turned out to be the right call as we won 8-5. This game was considered a home game, however it was not played in Daegu. It was played in the neighbouring city of Pohang. Luckily, it was easy to get to. The other English teachers and I simply got on a bus and less than 40 minutes later we were at Pohang Stadium.
(Looking at the stadium from across the street.)
Outside the stadium the crowds were in great spirits. There was a really good atmosphere and I couldn’t wait to go inside, but of course there was the matter of getting tickets first! The team buses were parked outside, which the players had signed.
(Our rivals, The Dinos.)
(The Saumsung Lions Bus)
Before we left, our Korean friends, who were regular spectators of the sport, guaranteed us that we could get a ticket at the stadium. However, when we arrived and saw the vast crowds we were a little skeptical. It turns out, however, that they were right. Not only did we get tickets, but the tickets we got only cost us W10,000 which is around $9 or €7.
(We got tickets!!!!)
As good as the atmosphere was outside, as soon as we entered the stadium, it was elevated to a completely different level; thousands of people had packed in to see these two teams in one of the league's final games. There were team mascots, cheerleaders, score boards, big screen TVs, people selling nuts and hot dogs, etc! (And no, this was not America, but South Korea!).
(Sorry about the quality - it was taken with my Samsung phone. I'm a fan through and through.)
As the game progressed, I honestly had no idea if we were winning or what was going on. I was just getting the hang of the rules, and then before I knew it, the game was over. We had won 8-5. After several innings (I'm still not sure what an inning is.), we beat The Dinos! The crowd was electric and I wondered to myself why I had never attended a game before?! I know one thing for sure: Even though I don’t quite know the rules (yet!), I will be going to another game very, very soon.
John May grew up in Dublin, Ireland where he is from & went to Trinity College – one of Irelands best known universities. He graduated from here in November 2012 with a B.A. (Mod) in Geography & Sociology. John has always had a passion for travelling and having been to most of Europe, he decided to explore Asia after Uni. He has always wanted to teach and thought what better way to travel than teaching English on the way. John is currently teaching English for CDI in Daegu, South Korea a position he found through Aclipse; John felt nervous before his departure, but now that he is in Korea he loves every minute of it. For more information follow his blog.