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South Korea: Land of Morning Calm

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BASEBALL, KOREA STYLE: "STICK BALOONS" GALORE...
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JOE TAKES IN A SUMMERTIME NIGHTCAP IN SEOUL WHILE DOOSAN FANS BANG AWAY AT THEIR STICKS...

"I was amazed that you really researched a lot of information about Korea and its baseball history. I appreciate your effort." – Kevin, South Korea 

“It was fun to see a foreign writer's impression on Korea and Korea's baseball. Thanks for a nice report and your interest in my country's Baseball.” – Hyunwoo, Seoul, South Korea

Ah, the Land of the Morning Calm, or shall we say, the Birthplace of the ThunderStix, but known formally as "CheerStix.” There were plenty of chances to bang the sticks in the World Baseball Classic, and you can learn about the history of the CheerStix and Korean baseball in World in a Ballpark: Baseball Goes Globalwhich is available for purchase at the Buy Joe's Guides page.

Still known to Koreans by their birth name, "stick balloons," in the 2002 World Series, these noisemakers were all the rage as the Angels defeated the Giants in the Major League Baseball Fall Classic. But in Korea, these long-tube balloons have been getting smacked together on every pitch during the Korea Baseball League regular and post-season since the early 1990s.

Unlike The Land of the Rising Sun, Japan, which has 12 teams, Korea boasts eight clubs from all over the country, from Gwangju in the southwest to Daejeon in the central region and the capitol city of Seoul. And wherever you go, there is a hardcore group of fans demonstrating their tremendous passion for the universal language known as baseball. Stick balloons, chants and total devotion are the norm.

We hope you enjoy this collage of baseball – Korea style!

 

 

CHEERLEADERS AT A BASEBALL GAME? WELCOME TO KOREA!
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SK WYVERNS FANS GET PROMPTED TO DANCE, BUT ALSO TO RISE WHEN LED BY THE CHIEF "CHEERLEADER" (right)

In addition to stick balloons, Korea baseball games feature female cheerleaders like those found at college football games in the U.S. Usually one male "cheerleader" will blow a whistle, employ a megaphone and begin popular team chants to get fans fired up. Like Japan, a strong contingent of fans also follow their favorite team on the road. If you want to view a sample of the guide and how easy the guide works, visit the MLB Ballpark Trips page.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: IT'S VERY DIFFERENT IN KOREA...
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(aove left) ALONG THE DEMILITARIZED ZONE; BASEBALL TRAVEL THROUGHOUT KOREA IS ONE-WAY ONLY: THE BUS

Ballparks in Korea are less than 30,000 in capacity and are all outdoor, with a mix of natural grass at some parks and artificial turf at others. Like in Japan, there is often a large amount of foul territory and all teams are named after a large corporation where corporate bragging rights are on the line when teams compete.

GET UP EVERYBODY: CHEERLEADERS AT CHAMSIL STADIUM
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CHEERLEADERS DOMINATE KOREA BASEBALL, SO TOO DO DRAMATIC MOUNTAIN VIEWS LIKE IN DAEJEON (right)

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