I realize this is turning into a blog about baseball, not about South Korea. However, baseball is one of our favorite things to do here. This year we have Wednesdays off, and our first free Wednesday we used to take an out of town baseball trip.
We headed west to Busan. It's a coastal city, the second largest in Korea. It is also known as the heart of the KBO (Korean Baseball Organization). The stadium was the best we've been to here thus far, sporting some behind home plate seating, a proper dirt diamond, and actual grass. Most of the fields use turf, and the small area around the bases is the only place you see any dirt. Inside, there were lots of vendors, selling anything from typical Korean food to Turkish kebabs. This is a nice change from our hometown stadium, which has two meals: fried chicken and a kind of hot spagetti-o's called dok bo ki.
The place filled up pretty quick. There aren't any assigned seats, so we've learned that it's best to get to the park a full hour early to get a good seat. We did, and we did. You can read in the outfield seats "Lotte Giants," which have the same colors as the San Francisco Giants. Most of the teams here steal MLB names.
I noticed they were selling newspapers on the way into the stadium, and I thought it was strange. Who would read a newspaper during a game? I saw immediately that they serve a different purpose here, a makeshift pom-pom. Everybody tore their newspaper up and used it to root for their team. The songs are mostly familiar, but have "Lotte Giants" inserted in the chorus (Lotte is pronounced Low Tey). "Glory, Glory Hallelujah" (Lotte, Lotte Lotte Lotte Lotte), "Life Goes On" (Lo-0-tte, Lo-o-tte, Lo-o-tteeyyyye, hey...), "What's Up" (by Four Non-Blondes), and "Cum on Feel the Noise" (this one I'm not sure what the Korean lyrics are, it's been adopted by multiple KBO clubs).
Plenty of vendors walk past, selling beer and squid. You can also go to the convenient store inside the stadium and get a...beer.
Near the end of the game, we started to see this sea of orange below us. We finally realized that everyone was putting a blown up orange plastic bag on their head. Seriously. The bags made their way up to us, and some Koreans helped us get them situated. The girl sitting next to us made a bow for Beth. Sometimes Koreans seem to do a better job at having fun than a lot of Westerners, they can do silly stuff like this and not be self conscious about it. It's really refreshing.
The Giants won, hitting 5 homeruns in the game. It was a great time.