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take me out to the ball game!

One thing that Chris was really looking forward to to make the whole Korean experience complete was the chance to go to Korean pro baseball game.

suwon baseball stadium Since the president of our academy is a huge baseball fan. And since Chris has been playing so much for our school's baseball team he and our fellow teacher Paul were treated to a night out at the ball park.

The Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) is a League made up of 8 teams from around the country all sponsored by corporate entities. In our case we traveled 20 minutes south to Suwon to watch the Hyundai Unicorns play.


The stadium in Suwon is sort of old, and holds about 10,000 but since it was a Thursday night there were around 5,000 in attendance. One thing that was really nice was as soon as we entered the stadium we noticed the freshly cut grass (with beautiful straight lines) - something we don't often see anywhere else in the country.

The Unicorn's opponents were the Hanhwa Eagles from Daejeon a city 1 hour south. The first thing we noticed was that the stadium was divided equally between Eagles and Unicorns fans. Our seats were delightfully appointed right behind home plate in the president's special box.

Beer and Ramyen

While the standard stadium fare in North American might be hotdogs (and as the song goes) peanuts and cracker jacks. In Korea the stadium haut-cuisine consists of Ramyen (instant noodles), smoked squid, tea, beer, and Kim-chi (the staple of any meal of course). It was really funny to go to the concessions stand and buy your bowl of noodles and then walk over to the hot water perks to fill up your bowl. Definitely a ball-park first.

The terminology in baseball here is basically adopted english. Baseball in Korean is also referred to as ya-gu literally meaning the same (ya-base; gu-ball) but you can just say baseball and everybody knows what you mean. All the terms are consistent with English, but the Koreans have adopted their own special chants. The most popular is just to yell Wah-ee-ting! which is actually a Koreanization of the word fighting urging the team or any one player to give it their all.

eating at the ballpark

Each of the teams are also allowed to have 2 foreign born players. In the case of the Unicorns their right fielder Clive Brumba (The Koreans just sound out his name phonetically Buh-loom-bah written in Han-gul on the back of his jersey) a gynormous hulk of a man who hails from Texas and is second in the league in home runs. The Unicorns also have a pitcher from the states as well who was not playing that evening.


Despite starting out slow and a late comeback effort the Unicorns did not prevail that night, losing 6-4. During the game and after words our president kept telling us that he sticks with the Unicorns team, even though they are having a rough season, because he knows the players quite well. So after the game it was only appropriate that he took us down outside the clubhouse to meet all of them. We didn't really benefit much from shaking a bunch of Korean's hands, but it was kind of nice to talk to Brumba and get a handle on his thick Texas accent (How ya'll guys doin'?).

All in all our first KBO experience was a good time, and we hope to go back again before the end of the season. We now leave you with a variation on an old favourite, that we whipped up during the game:

Take me out to the ball game,
take me out to the crowd.

Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks,
I don't care if I ever come back.

For it's root, root, root for the home team,
if they don't win it's a shame.

For it's one... two... three strikes your out,
at the old ball game.

Take me out to the Unicorn's game,
take me out with the crowd

Buy me some Ramyen and squid fried snacks,
by the 6th inning I likely will YACK!

But it's Wha-ee-ting for the home team,
if they lose they may not get paid.

For its Hanna... Dul... Seggae... strikes your out
at the ya-gu game.


Unicorns Game
Paul (sporting the Unicorn's Jersey), our academy's President (a.k.a. Mick Jagger), Chris (representing the Blue Jays), and Tae Young enjoying the game.

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