We once took a Korean friend to an American baseball game. She was disappointed. At the time we didn’t really understand. We love American baseball games (the over-the-top food options, the silly between inning entertainment,the kiss cam), but last week we attended a baseball game in Seoul. Now we understand.
First, since eating is our favorite pastime, let’s talk about the food. Food at American baseball games is way overpriced. We all know it, and we just deal with it. But it sucks. Beers at an American baseball game can cost $10 each. At a baseball game in Seoul not only can you bring food inside with you, but there are also convenience stores inside the stadium. At one of these convenience stores you can get a liter of beer for about $3.50. The food is also cheap and abundant inside the stadium. Fried chicken and beer is a very popular meal option so we decided to try it. Apparently, beer goes really well with fried chicken. So well, in fact, that Koreans have shortened it to one word: chimaek.
What is more incredible than the food at a Korean baseball game, though, is the cheering. Everyone in the stands cheers constantly when their team is at bat. There is a dance team and a cheer leader to guide you in the cheers. Most of the cheers simply place the player’s name into a song so it’s pretty easy to pick up, and incredibly fun. The only problem is that we barely watched the game! We got so caught up in the cheering that when we glanced at the scoreboard we were shocked to find that other team already had two outs on us! Our team lost. You wouldn’t know it by the cheering, though.
Korean baseball also outdid American baseball on the between-inning entertainment. In America it usually consists of some cutesy competition – fans race to steal a base or spin themselves dizzy before trying to throw something. In Korea they straight-up play drinking games. The camera will show a table set up with one fan on either side going toe to toe at flip cup.
The game itself was not quite as good as most American baseball games we’ve attended, but the crowd’s enthusiasm made the whole experience far more exciting than your typical American baseball game. Attending a Korean baseball game is a must for anyone visiting Seoul, and we cannot wait to go back.