I had been told many times during my almost 10 years in Asia that I needed to see a baseball game. Apparently witnessing an Asian baseball game was an essential part of The Asian Experience. Not being a huge sports fan, I had always found other things to do with my free time. Like any good Canadian, I’ve been to a few hockey games, and I do like World Cup soccer but sports generally don’t float my boat.
But a few other friends expressed interest in seeing a baseball game, and so one hot Saturday afternoon, I found myself in a line up for tickets. Tickets in hand, we joined the line for beer; it was much longer.
Our seats just happened to be in the midst of the Busan Giants season ticket holders, aka hardcore fans. There was even a little man (think leprechaun) whose job was it was to rile up the crowd. I’m not sure why he had to wear white knee-high lace-up boots though, he must have been melting.
There was so much going on, I hardly even noticed there was a game being played.
I wondered what happened in these seats?
There was a song for each of the players, usually a modified version of famous English songs like Obla dee, obla da. The player in this song is Kang MinHo. He’s one of the most popular players, and he rather conveniently hit a home run as I took this video!
The team name, Lotte Giants (or Roh-teh Ji-an-tsu) also fit quite nicely into a wide variety of songs.
The cheerleaders were sadly disappointing. We had been expecting lifts, flips and poms poms, especially when we saw their beefy security guards, and heard the ecstatic reaction they got as they came on stage. But all we got was this:
By the bottom of the seventh (I am trying to sound like I know what I’m talking about by using baseball jargon. Is it working?), the crowds were a bit restless, and our wee cheer master was growing a bit hoarse. How could things be livened up for the last two innings?
I can picture a room full of Korean businessmen scratching their heads in puzzlement as they pondered this question. There were already scantily-clad cheerleaders, and people could have beer, chicken, pizza and ice cream delivered right to their seats. What else could they do?
And then, someone had a brilliant idea. Pass out orange garbage bags! So they did. And everyone put them on their heads, and the good times continued to roll.
It was especially brilliant because once the game was over, everyone put all their garbage in their headgear, and deposited it politely in the bins outside the stadium doors.
I am very glad I went to a baseball game. It was awesome. The fans in Busan have a reputation for being crazy, and they certainly were to my untrained eyes. But perhaps this is normal behaviour for baseball games? If it is, I may just go again sometime….