Thursday, June 13, 2013

한국에서 야구

Sometimes people are perplexed when I tell them i'm not good at sports, my co-workers especially, "but you can run".  Well trust me, there's a lot more to organized sports than running.  Sure I can put on my tennis shoes and go lose myself in a run for a few hours, but throw a ball at me while doing so and we're talking about a whole different ball game (sorry that was lame).  Not only am I not an athlete but i'm also not particularly knowledgeable when it comes to sports, sure I know the basic rules of pretty much all of them, but dont' ask me the specifics, names, statistics, records, etc. Nevertheless I love going to sporting events, I guess i'm more of  a social fan than anything else. Some of my co-workers were surpsied when I told them I went to a baseball game, oh you like baseball, I think that's boring.  Well yeah, the games can get boring, but I think of it more as something to do and time to spend with friends. So if you're looking for a play by play on the Samsung lions record, statistics or any particulars related to baseball you might want to go look for a new blog.  

Welcome to Lions Stadium 
The first game I went to was actually the Lion's home opener, kind of funny that this was the first opening game I've ever attended, maybe one day i'll make it to Miller Park. Then again that brings with it the chance of snow or freezing rain, so maybe i'll pass.  Anyways my friend Shaun is a die hard baseball fan, unfortunately he's from Chicago making him a cubs fan, but i'll let that slide.  We weren't really sure what the ticket situation would be like so we went to the stadium a few hours early and successfully, after looking like the stupid foreigners a few times, bought our tickets.  After attending a game with my dad last year I knew that the bleachers section could get jam packed so we decided to head in early and claim seats.  I'm glad we went when we did and that there were only two of us, otherwise finding seats may have been hard to do.  Before long they were starting the game, in true Korean 화이팅 fashion, blow up dolls, fireworks, balloons and all.

Balloons and fireworks 
To be honest I dont' remember many details about the game, but cut me a break it was months ago.  Loudine joined us about halfway through the game, after she was done studying at KNU. Lucky for her we were sitting on the aisle so that there was a seat for her, on the stairs. We watched the game in true American fashion, accompanied with many beers and a few snacks, but seriously I think the Koreans go to baseball games just to eat.  Chicken, pizza, ramen, dduckboki, dried squid, ice cream, chips, cookies, you name it, they eat it.  Seriously how do these people stay so skinny!?!?

Well clearly I'm not an avid fan, or I'm just really busy, yeah we'll use that excuse because it took me about two months to make it to my second game of the season.  This time I was accompanied by Caitlin,  my friend Jaewon and two of his friends, all three from Incheon.  I was surprised when Jaewon said he was making the trip to Daegu for a baseball game.  Knowing that he's a huge Wyverns fan it didn't make sense that he was trekking nearly 4 hours for a game, but later found out both of his friends are huge Lions fans, still not quite sure how that worked itself out.  Anyway, the boys picked us up in Gumi around 12:30 so we could head to Daegu for lunch before heading to the game.  I was starving by the time we finally settled on a restaurant, the original plan of Galbi was abandoned when the restaurant seemed to have disappeared, but the replacement choice of Galbijim more than made up for it. With full stomachs we made our way to the stadium, bought our tickets and were soon in line for the bleacher seats, no fighting for a place to sit this time, we made sure we were plenty early.

재원, 나, 된짱남자, 선미
There wasn't really much to do for the two hours we had to wait until the beginning of the game, besides eat ice cream and drink beer that is.  Somehow though, the time flew by and the game was soon underway.  Like I said i'm not a die hard fan so I won't be going into detail about the game. But in all honesty it was a slow game.  The score remained 1-1 until the 10th inning (yes, extra innings) when Samsung pulled out the win with a home run.  As Caitlin said, thank god hitting the pole counts!  Okay so some highlights from the game - for one the crowd is awesome, and that's saying a lot coming from Milwaukee where we have some die hard fans.  I experienced one of the most epic waves during the game; not only did it go around the entire stadium, it did so at least 5 times, two of which were in slow motion and one at super speed - seriously regret not getting a video of that.

I never really got bored during the game, if nothing else the crowd was there to entertain me during the dull parts, but my legs and back were definitely a bit sore.  I welcomed the 7th inning stretch with open arms and threw in a few extras of my own, each time amused by how many people were staring at me. Seriously, white girls are pretty amazing aren't they?  Another thing I should mention is the ridiculousness that is the bleachers section.  There's actually seats compared to Miller park but of course they're not reserved  so you show up early and stake out your grounds, which for some people means seats for yourself,  your bags, your pizza and all the other shit you've managed to accumulate (garbage, coats, you name it).  The end result?  Those that arrive later fill in on the stairs, aisles, and pretty much anywhere they can find a spot to squat.  It's funny though that no one gets annoyed or mad - there was  a group of three guys sitting on the stairs near us while the family in front of us took up 8 seats, for 5 people.  While I observed the crowd, 재원 entertained himself with some more baseball, can't really make fun of him though because he is a die hard Wyverns fan but instead of staying in Incheon for the game made the trek to Daegu to join his friends.

Double timing (hope that's not a hobby)
The game finally came to an end somewhere around 9 o'clock and after fighting the crowds we made it to the car and were on our way to dinner.  재원 had mentioned that he likes meat and after spending the day with him that wasn't hard to see, the boys chose 삼겹살 for dinner and although I didn't feel hungry upon sitting down I managed to polish off quite a bit of food.  On the way back from Gumi we pulled into what is possibly the nicest rest stop in Korea, who knew so close to home!? Complete with screen golf, batting cages and a beautiful eating area.  I guess the boys didn't quite get their fill for the day because each of them took a turn at bat, I on the other hand passed.  Then to my disbelief the boys insisted that they were going to drive back to Incheon that night, claiming they had plans the next day. Mind you Incheon is roughly 4 hours north of Gumi and they dropped me off at my house around 11pm - uhhh have fun with that.

Clearly 재원 didn't get enough baseball today
So there you have it, baseball in Korea, or I guess in Daegu anyway.  I still have yet to make it to Busan for a game which I hear is a whole different ball park (haha I did it again), so i'll have to keep that on my  Korean bucket list but until then Daegu will have to do.  Even if you're not a baseball fan i'd suggest going to a game, if you have the right company, some snacks and a few drinks there's no way you could get bored.  It's cheap, fun, entertaining and a bit comical, so go for it. 

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