Doing my best 'Korean' pose
We got to the game very early, which made my sports-loving soul very happy. The Wyverns have been to the last 6 Korean Series, and won 3 of those. They were playing the Kia Tigers, who are like the Yankees of Korean baseball, having won 10 titles overall which is 4 ahead of the next in line. We walked in just as the gates were opening up which allowed us to watch the teams warm up and take batting practice. Each team is allowed to have 2 foreigners on the roster, and with our early arrival I took the opportunity to go talk to a KIA player warming up in the outfield.
Me in the blue sweatshirt talking to Henry Sosa
It was a great idea really, because it netted me this...
Official KBO ball at my first game, score!
It ended up being a really cold night. It was about 48 degrees and extremely windy so the crowd was about half of what I expected. But that didn't stop them from living up to the reputation of the Korean baseball fan! These people are awesome. In America, MLB players have a song of their choice that will play when they are coming up to bat. In the KBO, the fans have a specific chant that they do for each player when he is coming up to bat. It is LOUD. And everyone; kids, teenagers, adults, inebriated adults, and grandparents all get in on the action.
The video starts with the SK fans on the other side of the stadium losing their minds chanting for their hitter, and ends with the KIA fans around me losing their minds over a double play. It's probably the best example I have of what a half-full stadium of crazy, freezing fans are all about.
It was a great game. KIA went out to a 4-0 lead before SK came back to keep it interesting at 4-3. But KIA was too strong and held on for the victory in the opener of the weekend series. I had some great company too, which was the best part of it all.
I'll be going to plenty more games over the summer. There are a few stadiums within a 45 minute subway ride from my house and since the season is just starting I'll have a lot of opportunities. One of the best things about going to a game in Korea is that you can bring in your own food and beer! So one more than one occasion, when my students are with me, I'll be picking up a 6-pack and headed out the the ballgame. As any good American should.