One of my oldest and dearest friends came to visit me from Canada this week. The one thing he wanted to do, as an avid sports fan, was take in a Korean baseball game. Normally, during the summer months, it’s too hot to sit in the bleachers and watch Korean baseball, but the day seemed cool enough and although we were feeling rough from the night before, we decided to head out for some KBO action.
Lonely Planet’s Description: The professional baseball matches held at the stadium here are great entertainment; games kick off around 6:30pm. Also, the location of the giant Olympic Stadium built for the 1988 games and still used for major events and pop concerts.
Buying tickets: There are two ways to purchase tickets for game day.
1) This is the method I would recommend the most. I would get up early and head down to the stadium and get in line and purchase the tickets. The clerks all speak English, and they have an easy to read chart with prices and seating locations. Stay in the middle aisle.
2) The second method for obtaining tickets is to order them online. I’ve heard of people ordering tickets on Gmarket, and as you can see from the pictures, there is a separate line for it. However, I’ve not been able to purchase tickets on there. So, if you want to risk it, and go the online route, give it a try and leave me some feedback!
Price Range: A strong piece of advice: Do not be a fucking cheap ass and get 8000W tickets. Seriously. Spend the extra 4000W for the 12000W tickets and get ASSIGNED seating. If you are new to the country, this is not like North American sporting events where you get a ticket with a section, row and seating number. The 8000W tickets are for out on the bleachers and its first come, first serve. My friends and I did this a couple of times, and it was a complete disaster. First, you have people “saving” seats for their friends. So we would wait, but really what they were doing was putting food on the seats, as a makeshift table. When confronted, they basically tell us to shut up. Since my Korean is not proficient enough to curse and swear at them, I simply took it like a bitch.
How to get there: The stadium is easy to find. I would recommend the metro. Take Line 2 and soon Line 9 to get to the stadium. The Lonely Planet had line 8. I just checked my subway app… *shake head*. Walk out Exit 6. It is clearly marked “Baseball Stadium”, you can’t miss it.
Food and Drink: The food and drinks at the stadium are extremely reasonable compared to North American counterparts. You can get a Cass for 4000W. When was the last time you went to a game in North American and paid 3 dollars for a fucking beer at a pro sporting event?! Now, beer is limited to Hite and Cass, so beer snobs, should probably avoid this one. There are fast food joints in the stadium, such as Burger King, KFC and some Korean places. You can purchase the food and eat it in the restaurant, or bring it into the stadium. Also, there are tons of adjumas scattered outside the stadium selling squid and kimbap. Yummy.
Atmosphere and Interaction: Now, you can either be a poser and cheer for the home teams: Doosan Bears or LG Twins, if so, I suggest you go into the souvenir shop and purchase a jersey or hat of the home teams. This will cost anywhere from 15000W to 45000W, which, isn’t a bad deal, and is one of those keepsakes you will have for the rest of your life. However, if you really want to live on the edge, get a rival team jersey (Lotte Giants, KIA Tigers, Samsung Lions) and sit with the home crowd. Hilarity ensues.
The game day atmosphere is very different from North American. You will stand and you will cheer. Honestly, it is probably one of the best sporting experiences I have ever had in my life, and I’m an avid sports fan. If you find yourself in the cheering sections, go with the flow. Trust me, you might feel apprehensive at first, but once you get a few of those cheap Korean beers down the hatch, you’ll fit right in and might even pick up a little Korean! Ohh and did I mention Korean baseball has some absolutely gorgeous cheerleaders?
Alternatives: Damn, so you showed up too late and there are no tickets available. What to do? You came all this way. Don’t fret my friend. Remember when you entered the stadium from the subway? Go back there and start walking around the stadium. At the back of the stadium, behind centerfield is an outdoor restaurant, which is really just a tent that serves BBQ and beer. The prices range from 3000W – 30000W set, but there is enough for a few people if you get the set menu. There are sausages, chicken and pork! Pull up a seat, grab some beers and chicken and watch the game on television underneath the tent. It really is a pretty cool experience, and I would recommend it for people to try just once. I discovered it when my wife and I were sick of standing in the bleachers and we just decided to leave the game and explore. We found this place, drank beer and watched the rest of the game on a LCD television, whilst still feeling the exciting atmosphere pulsating from the stadium.