Viewpoint / You haven’t seen Busan until you’ve been ‘bagged’ at baseball
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    You haven’t seen Busan until

    you’ve been ‘bagged’ at baseball


    It’s that time of year again, when the spring sunshine makes us all go slightly mad with anticipation after the long winter season finally comes to an end. For many residents of Busan, Korean and non-Korean alike, this means a trip to the home of the Lotte Giants, to cheer on the local team.

    Korean traditions and culture may seem hard to adapt to at times, particularly for first-time visitors from abroad, but anyone can shake a shredded newspaper and tie an inflated orange bag to their head, and in Busan during baseball season everyone does.

    The reason for issuing the fans with these bags is actually a very pragmatic one - the idea being that, after the game, everyone tidies up the area where they have been sitting - and it works! However, before using the bags for their intended purpose, here in Busan the fans like to show the rest of the country how to really get behind their team.

    Elsewhere around the world, certain cities have a strong affinity for various sports. In my country, the UK, the fanaticism of fans for their local football team is recognized around the world. The sight of tens of thousands of Liverpool fans singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” is as spine-tingling as watching a bit of football wizardry by Maradona or Messi.

    Busan has always been a baseball city, and its fans are incredibly loyal - which is just as well since season after season has all too often ended in disappointment. Recently, with the team reaching the play-offs three years in a row and ending the season in third place last year, there has been plenty to cheer about.

    The team may have lost one of its star players, Lee Dae-ho, after many years of glorious home run hitting, but rest assured that, whatever the outcome of this year’s matches, some things will remain unchanged. So, with your fried chicken and cans of beer, plastic bag and plenty of cheer, get ready for baseball, “Busan-style”, once again this year!


    Andy Johnston

    Language Officer of International Relations Division

     


  • April 16, 2012 Issue No.127
          
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