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Baseball in South Korea

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Korean baseball player Kim Hyun-soo in the outfield during the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
Korean baseball player Kim Hyun-soo in the outfield during the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

Baseball is believed to have been introduced to Korea in 1905 by American missionaries during the Korean Empire, after which it gradually attained prominence.[1][2] It is one of the most popular sports in the country. There are 10 pro teams in the Korea Baseball Organization. Baseball season runs from March to October.

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  • ✪ Korean Baseball 101: Way Beyond the Bat Flips
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Transcription

(upbeat electronic music) - [Announcer] Baseball in Korea, is like nothing you've ever seen. And its fans, they're in a league of their own. - [Announcer] The atmosphere at a game, it's cathartic, it's cleansing. No one cares what you look like or how badly you sing or dance, as long as you're cheering for Lotte Giants, everyone's happy together. (crowd chanting in foreign language) - [Announcer] Baseball was first brought to Korea in 1905 by American missionaries, and the people of South Korea loved it; it became one of the country's most popular sports, and in 1982, Korea made its love of the game official and formed the Korean Baseball Organization, or KBO for short. The league started with six teams. Today, there are 10, and the Lotte Giants from the city of Busan are one of two inaugural franchises left. Their fans are legendary. (crowd cheering) Their cheermaster is a celebrity. (yelling in foreign language) (crowd cheering) What's a cheermaster? Don't worry, we'll get to that. First, meet Lotte's most unlikely superfan. - I came to Korea in 2008, and I teach at a small university. I was living in Ulsan, and we took a field trip to Sajik Stadium, and, uh, it was just amazing. Gradually, I've become a Lotte Giant's superfan, I guess. (upbeat music) - [Announcer] And, in the nine years he's been going to games, he's become so well known in the stands that people regularly stop and ask to take photos with him. - [Kerry] I really don't know why I became so famous other than it's perhaps because I'm big and I look like Santa Claus, and in a crowd of 20,000 Koreans, there are not many guys that look like me. (speaking in foreign language) - [Announcer] Choi Joon Suk is a mountain of a man. He's a first baseman, your prototypical masher in the middle of the batting order. He's known for crushing baseballs and his epic bat flips. Because in the KBO, bat flips are quite common, and no big deal, whereas in the major leagues in the States, it's seen as a sign of disrespect. We'll just let the slugger explain this. (speaking in foreign language) - [Announcer] OK, fine, not much to say. What about you, foreign Major-Leaguer and Lotte Giants team captain, Lee Dae Ho? (speaking in foreign language) - [Announcer] Some say it's nationalistic. Some say it's entertaining. And some say very little at all. (upbeat music) Regardless of theory, one thing is certain. Bat flips are absolutely mesmerizing, and in the KBO, you get your money's worth. (classical music) (announcers speaking in foreign language) (upbeat music) - I tell everyone that, to me, the MLB is like an opera, and the Lotte Giants at Sajik is like rock and roll. (upbeat music) The atmosphere, the energy. And I only planned to go to a few games, and for the last three years, I've had season tickets at Sajik, so I'd probably been to about 120 games every year for the last three years. (chanting in foreign language) I get asked a lot: Why do I go to so many games? And, in one word, it's fun. I'm, 63 years old, and I don't think I should apologize for wanting to have fun. - [Announcer] Rambunctious crowds, electric atmosphere, and bat flips are all part of the KBO experience. But what really sets the KBO apart is the cheermaster. And, Lotte's is top dog. So, what does a cheermaster do? (screaming in foreign language) (loud, thumping music) (speaking in foreign language) (chanting) - Cho Ji-Hoon is so famous because of his skill, because of his passion. He is working almost 100% of the game. He's talking, he's singing, he's dancing. He is the heart of the Lotte Giants. (upbeat electronic music) (speaking in foreign language) (chanting in foreign language) (speaking in foreign language) (singing in foreign language) (speaking in foreign language) - [Announcer] The Lotte Giants are Busan's only professional sport's team. The entire city rallies behind them. They are a raucous and rambunctious fan base, they make sure you feel, or rather, hear their presence. (cheering) (speaking in foreign language) - I'm probably the luckiest man in Korea, because I've made so many friends, and had so many unique and special experiences all because of baseball. Many of my Korean friends speak very little English, I speak very little Korean, But, we have a common language. And that language is the Lotte Giants. (upbeat music)

Contents

Early history

American missionaries brought baseball to Korea in the 19th century. In 1896, US Marines played exhibitions against teams of Americans expatriates and the Seoul Athletic Club. The sport flourished in the period of Japanese rule.[3]

On December 1921, a team of American Major League players stopped in Seoul during a tour of Asia, and a Korean team was assembled to play against them. The Koreans were defeated, 23-3.[4] Various Korean cities also participated in the Japanese Intercity Baseball Tournament, from its inception in 1927 until 1942.[5] In 1940 and 1942 Seoul won the tournament, defeating (respectively) the teams of Dalian and Osaka. At least one Korean played against a Babe Ruth-led team of American all-stars which toured Japan in 1934.[3]

Post-war period

The 1980s marked the beginning of the professional baseball era in Korea. In 1982, the MBC Chungyong, Lotte Giants, Samsung Lions, OB Bears, Haitai Tigers, and Sammi Superstars were launched, as was the highest-level league that they composed, the Korea Baseball Championship.[6] This league continues to be Korea's major league, although as of 2015 it has expanded to 10 teams.

The sport reached a new level of popularity when pitcher Chan Ho Park made his debut for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1994.[7] Park achieved a great deal of success in his Major League Baseball career, and paved the way for the American success of fellow Korean players such as Hee-seop Choi, Byung-hyun Kim, Bong Jung-keun, Shin-Soo Choo, Hyun-jin Ryu, and Jung-ho Kang.

It is also played widely on the local high school and collegiate level, as well as in a farm league (the Korea Baseball Futures League).

Baseball's governing body in Korea is the Korea Baseball Organization, a member of the International Baseball Federation and the organization responsible for the nation's participation in such international competitions such as the Olympics, World Baseball Classic and the Asian Games. The KBO also manages Korea's highly successful national team. In the mid-2000s South Korea rose as a dominant power in the international baseball scene, twice placing second in the World Baseball Classic, and winning the bronze medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, and the gold medal against Cuba at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. Korea consistently places in the top of the WBSC World Rankings.

See also

Baseball organizations in Korea

Professional leagues

Other related pages

References

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ a b Jeong, Andrew (27 December 2017). "What's That Rocketing Into the North Korean Sky? A Baseball!". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  4. ^ Reaves, Joseph (2006). Gmelch, George (ed.). Baseball Without Borders: The International Pastime. University of Nebraska Press. p. 96.
  5. ^ ja:都市対抗野球大会 (朝鮮)
  6. ^ [3]
  7. ^ "Chan Ho Park Player Page". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
This page was last edited on 21 June 2019, at 09:24
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