Friday, April 28, 2006
Ahhh Korean Baseball
Since this is my first blog entry in my first blog, I thought I'd do something out of the ordinary: talk about something I really like about Korea. Baseball! The Korean Baseball Organization. KBO if you're into the whole brevity thing. Just in time to get a few games in under the beige, Chinese sand obscured moon, the KBO season is underway. Actually, on weekends they play under the Chinese sand obscured sun. I was told never to look directly at the sun during the Sinosand eclipses we have had for almost a month now so I have yet to verify the exact colour of one. Maybe it's red. I've noticed over my years of working with Korean kids and resorting to artwork when an hour-long lesson ends at the twenty minute mark, that they always make the sun red. When I was a kid, I made it yellow. In fact, if the occasion should arise, I think I still would. Then again, I always made snot green. Here, well it depends on whether or not you've been in traffic I suppose. However, before I get into the other artistic skills of Korean kids, anatomic and excremental amongst them, I'll get back to baseball. I've been to a few ball games already this season and they have all been great. Most recently I took in a night game at Chamshil stadium in Seoul which pitted the Doosan Bears against the Lotte Giants. It was a very well pitched game. Rios went 5 and a third innings with a 3-hit shutout. The Bears were up 1-0 at that point but the coach went to the bullpen and then the fireworks started. Poor Rios didn't get the win. However the Bears managed a dramatic come-from-behind 4-3 victory. Hooray for the Bears, my old team. I was in the expensive seats, (6000 won!), drinking Cass and feeling a bit of a traitor. You see for the past two seasons I've been cheering on the Kia Tigers. But I have moved to Yangju and the closest teams to me are the Seoul teams, (LG Twins and Doosan Bears). I also met the number two pitcher on the Bears recently in my favourite watering hole in Seoul, I Tae Won Woodstock. His name is Matt Randall. We grew up just across the border from each other so we had some common experiences that we shared over a few pops. He said he's going to try to bring me back to the Bears who were my favourite team when I lived in Seoul 5 years ago. But then they were the OB Bears. I just liked them because of the beer. So it was a little odd consuming mass quantities of Cass while watching the Bears play. Oh well, at least they won. The best game I've seen this year so far was in Suwon. I went to see my Kia Tigers give Suwon's Hyundai Unicorns a thorough thrashing. It was April 14th. Korean Black Day and my birthday. Black Day is when people who were snubbed on Feb. 14th and March 14th, (when girls give guys chocolate and guys give girls candy respectively), eat Jajang Myun or black noodles as a kind of mourning. I actually ordered jajang myun with my beer but they didn't have any at Suwon Stadium, so I went with the fried chicken. I was proudly sporting my Kia Tigers away jersey and sitting behind third base, which I thought was the custom in Korea. It wasn't long before I was surrounded by several Koreans wearing Kia colours so I knew I was in the right section. As the game wore on and Kia built a huge lead, high-fives were generously dispersed throughout my section and soon I was celebrating with these total strangers. Then around the 4th or 5th inning, (that's about the 7th or 8th beer in birthday beverage measurement), these fans pulled out a birthday cake, lit the candles and were about ready to launch into "Seng Il Chuka Hamnida", (Happy Birthday), when I told them it was my birthday too. I whipped out my identification so as not to make them think I was honing in on their cake action. They believed me ID or no ID. So we blew out the candles, me and the other birthday boy, posed for pictures and even smushed cake in each other's faces. Then they poured me a few cups of Makkoli, (Korean rice wine I don't really care for), from a 10-gallon jerry can for the love of God! The things you can bring to ball games in Korea! And they weren't even in their home stadium! I had to drink the makkoli in "ONE SHOT" of course but I didn't mind. I was happy to be having a good time on my birthday. I even met one kid who spoke English really well. It turned out that I knew one of his father's best friends. So I call my friend up and let him talk to the kid. He was surprised that my friend recognized him. Imagine that, meeting someone at a ball game and having a mutual acquaintance. I'd say "What a small country Korea is!", but that just doesn't have much zing since Korea IS quite a small country. But at the end of the game the score was something like 11-4 for Kia, we were all a little too happy, and despite the absence of any of my friends I invited to share the game with me, (on my birthday(boo-hoo-hoo)), I had a blast! And I DID spend a few hours after the game with friends singing silly songs at a Seoul singing room anyway. Ahh Korean baseball. It's my favourite thing to do in this crazy country.