Our country has a short baseball history compared to Japan. In 1982, it started from six teams from six cities such as Seoul, Pusan, Daegu, Daejeon, Gwangjoo, and Incheon. Later, four teams were added and that led to a total of ten teams in the professional baseball league.
How It Works
One difference between Korean professional baseball and American professional baseball is that Korea only has one league. For example, 2018’s baseball season started on March 24, each team is going to have 144 matches and two teams are going to have 16 matches with each other, which makes a total of 720 matches. If a team makes it in the top 5, they get the opportunity to play in the post-season. The best team during the season before post-season gets the advantage to skip the post-season and play in the Korean series. However, just because they were the best during the season, there is not a large chance for the team to beat the Korean series. Like Japan and America, Korean professional baseball starts in March, ends in September and October-November is for the post-season.
|[Baseball Players During Match photographed by:Byung Ouk Yu]
Korean professional baseball has the following characteristics compared to Japanese and American professional baseball.
First, each team is famous in the region they represent. Especially in Korea, most of the people in a certain region root for the team that represents their region. For example, my mother is a Hanhwa Eagles fan because she is from Daejeon and my father is a Samsung Lions fan because he is from Gyungsang. In the past, professional baseball matches sometimes went wild between fans of rival teams getting into fights during their matches. However, nowadays, young people root for their favorite team regardless which region they are from.
Secondly, the crowd for Korean professional baseball matches has increased, especially the female proportion. When professional baseball started in the 1980s, most of the people in the crowd were men, but now, the trend is changing. The reason why the number of women in the crowd has increased is because women, compared to the past, are participating in more social activities and by that we could tell that their status has gotten better and they’re getting more interested in leisure. In the past in Korea, when women would hang out wildly and participate in outdoor activities, they were seen as reprobates. Also, nowadays, women enjoy rooting their favorite baseball players and get rid of stress by doing that.
|[The Crowd And The Match photographed by: Byung Ouk Yu]
Third, Korean professional baseball has a dynamic cheering culture that Japan and America don’t have. In all matches, cheerleaders are there. The cheerleaders usually dance to an exciting cheering song and help the crowd with cheering. Some young people go to baseball games because they enjoy the cheerful atmosphere more. For example, in the game I attended, a female crowd near me following the cheerleaders perfectly was a very interesting sight. Also, each ace player has their anthem and the crowd sings the anthem whenever that player is playing. Korean professional baseball players who used to play in America or Japan say that Korea’s cheering culture is interesting and are jealous of Korea’s culture.
|[Cheerleaders photographed by: Byung Ouk Yu]
Usually, May-June is not too hot or cold so it is the perfect time to go and see professional baseball. While watching professional baseball, you could enjoy various kinds of food and it would be a good experience to cheer.
Byung Ouk Yu
Seoul Scholars International
Byung Ouk Yu firstname.lastname@example.org
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