One of my favorite things to do in Seoul is to go see my favorite Korean Baseball league team, the LG Twins! Plus, they have my favorite cheerleader Joo Hyun!
Baseball in Korea is different from Baseball in America and Japan. It seemed strange to me not to understand it. The game is actually the same, its the fans I didn't get. Cheering seemed to be different. When a play on a ball was being made, it was really quiet. It seemed like the noise and the cheering was not for their own team, but to mess up the other team. When a Twins player was at bat, it was also very quiet.
The game itself is fun to watch, but in Korea baseball is a team sport, where the fans are part of the team. Not only do you have to know how to do the team chants, you have to know the team songs! And the LG Twins have a bunch of them! There is the introduction song, the fight song (my favorite) and even an LG Twins love song?
Equipment: Don't bring anything but your knowledge of how to do the team cheers, and how to sing the team songs. Everyone purchases these red plastic inflatable tubes to make noise with. They are cheap and make great souvineers if you can deflate them without popping them.
The Korea Series, which happens in late October just like the U.S. World Series, can be attended with little planning. We just walked up to the gate 15 minutes before the 6 p.m. start and bought tickets for W12000. We got to see the Hyundai Unicorns dismantle the Samsung Lions 4-1 in game 3 of the best-of-seven series.
Interestingly, starting this year, the league has allowed for tie games in the Korean Series. Apparently this was done so that children don't stay up too late watching the games. There were at least two ties in the 2004 Korean Series before I left Korea (I don't know who won, but Hyundai was leading 3-2-2)
Equipment: Dress warmly as October nights get cool at Jamsil Sports Complex.
As was mentioned by the others, baseball is more fun to watch in Korea than the US. It is more participatory, like the Japanese. You can buy what I call 'boom sticks' for W1000 and participate by listening to the guy with the whistle. After a few games, you should be able to follow the whistle and be in unison with the crowd.
Moving on to the title of this entry. Many have suggested taking the Olympic stop, but if you want to save time and footsteps, get off the Chamsil/Sports Complex stn. Normally, if it is baseball day, you can just follow the crowd out of the station.
Upon exiting the stn, you will immediately see the stadium in front of you.
You can grab snacks being sold by the many ajuma as you get out of the stn and before you reach the tkt booth.
Equipment: You can buy team paraphernalia from the stadium store. You can get the boom sticks here as well.
If you want to watch a baseball game, go to the Jamsil Baseball stadium and you can watch either the LG Twins or the Doosan Bears. Both of these teams call this stadium home. Tickets are really cheap.. about 6,000 Won and fans really get into it. One difference from Major League baseball is that there are Cheerleaders at Korean baseball games.
Korea has a professional baseball league which was established in 1982. It consists of 8 teams and two of them are based at Seoul. They share same stadium, Jamsil Stadium, as home field. The system of the pennant race is a little complicated. The pennant race consists of 133 games. After the season, 3rd place and 4th place teams hold semi postseason matches. The team which won the first two games out of 3 games can get through to postseason matches. 2nd place team and the winner of semi postseason matches hold postseason matches and the team which won the first three games out of 5 games advance to the Korean series. 1st place team and the winner of postseason matches hold Korean series and the team which won the first four games out of 7 games becomes the champion of Korean league.
By the way, I heard an interesting episode about the birth of the baseball league. When Korean baseball league started, Chun Doo Hwan had been in a power as the president of South Korea. His regime was called a government under a military dictatorship and so many people hold antigovernment demonstrations very often. Chun Doo Hwan tried to establish a professional sport to resist criticism of his regime. That was the reason why Korean professional baseball was established. Of course I’m not sure if this story is true or not, but many Koreans believe it.
Equipment: Opera glasses are very useful to watch baseball games because baseball fields are very big. If you want to try to get a ball, you should prepare for a glove to catch it. Do you have favorite players? You should have a magic maker. With luck, you will be able to get autographs from them.
Baseball is a very popular sport in Korea and there are currently a dozen teams making up the Korean Pro Baseball League. Seoul has two teams and they share the stadium at Chamshil. This is great as it guarantees baseball every night of the week except Mondays which is a league down day. The LG Twins and Doosan Bears have masses of supporters and games are great entertainment and a super value compared to the MLB games in the states. Each Korean team is allowed two foreign players on their roster and often one is a pitcher. These guys are normally washed up major leaguers but recently Tyrone Woods was bumped from the Korean League to the Japanese League after winning the home run title two years in a row. They have once again started selling beer in the stadiums (Koreans can get violent after copious amounts of alcohol and the spirit of competition which led to the banning of booze a few years ago) so except for the dried octopus jerkey on a stick, its just like home. Do it once and you may be hooked like I was.