Korean Baseball 101: Way Beyond the Bat Flips


(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)

23 thoughts on “Korean Baseball 101: Way Beyond the Bat Flips

  1. In the MINORS back in early 2000s we USA VS KOREA exhibition….THEY STOOD NO CHANCE……YEAH RIGHT!!!….THEY KICKED OUR ASS…..

  2. Korea vs Japan when or do we still hate each other? And maybe America can have an actual world series. One can dream. If im ever influential Ill push for this.

  3. Has anyone noticed the most famous super fans are generally not the same race as your average sport fan? He pointed it out himself but just saying.

  4. It's a Pro sport, not an amateur / kiddies league where people's feelings shouldn't be hurt, and your ego should be able to take a fucking celebration.
    There are lines obviously, but staring at a ball with a beautiful trajectory and casually throwing a bad instead of carefully placing it really is a line for 8 year olds.

  5. Here I am hoping to move to Korea in 1-2 years thinking I need to learn the language (I am still going to try) and this superfan has been living there for 11 years with very little knowledge of it. This looks very fun, definitely on my list of things to do when I visit early to mid next year if the season is on.

  6. 요즘 롯데는 ㄷㄷ
    이거보고 롯데경기 와서 실망하는 외쿡인들 더러 있겠네 ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ

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