Growing up, my family weren’t huge baseball fans. None of my siblings played baseball or softball (or even tee-ball as kids) and we didn’t live in an area with a Major League team. My grandfather was something of an Atlanta Braves fan, but apart from catching pieces of those games on television when I was at my grandparents’ house, I had no experience with baseball.
Jonathan, however, grew up with a sports-loving father and played baseball from a young age. He has many childhood memories of playing or watching baseball. He took me to my very first baseball game on our first wedding anniversary. We were in New York City so naturally we had to go to a Yankees game. It was an incredibly low scoring game, so I wasn’t overly impressed with the sport, but I enjoyed the atmosphere.
A few years later when we lived in North Carolina, there was a minor league team in Durham (the Durham Bulls) who actually had a really nice stadium not far from where we lived, so we went to a few games there as well as at least one Charlotte Knights game with friends who live in Charlotte. I could take or leave baseball, but I enjoy it as a social event.
Baseball is all the rage in Korea. In fact, our city has its own team (currently ranked #1) and stadium. So last Saturday evening we ventured out to Daegu Stadium to watch the Samsung Lions play. Fun Fact – Instead of teams being named after the city they play for like the Atlanta Braves or the Cincinnati Reds, in Korea the teams are named after their corporate sponsors. So Daegu’s team is called the Samsung Lions and they played against was called the KT Whiz.
Unlike at American sporting events, people are expected, even encouraged to get food outside of the stadium and bring it in with them and the food/drink of choice for baseball games is fried chicken and beer. Food carts line the street outside of the stadium where people sell fried chicken, squid on sticks, tteokbokki, and kimbap.
Another fun fact about baseball in Korea is that there are cheerleaders who dance around in front of the big cheering section. Maybe this exists in other places as well, but in the US, cheerleaders are typically only present at football and basketball games and it would be strange to see them at a baseball or soccer game.
There was a rowdy cheering section of the stands complete with Korean drums and lots of organized cheers, but they were on the opposite side of the stadium from our seats, so we were able to enjoy them from a distance. The stadium isn’t all that large though – in fact, it’s similar in size to the minor league stadiums I went to in North Carolina.
The Samsung Lions won 3 to 1. I think. I was obviously deeply invested or whatever. (Actually, it’s not my fault because there was a family sitting in front of us who clearly live on the American military base and they kept pulling out insane snacks I haven’t seen in years. So I was obviously distracted). Go team! Score some goal point units!
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