Baseball (야구) in Korea

Some countries may be fanatics about football, rugby or basketball, Korea absolutely loves baseball, a.k.a yagu in Korean (야구). From the professionals to the average student, baseball is well renowned in this country.

Although baseball was introduced to the Koreans in the early 1900s, the professional scene only began during the 1980s. Back then and even now, the Korea Baseball Championship is the biggest and highest-tier league for Korea.

The championship consist of 10 teams, which are:

  • Doosan Bears

  • Hanwha Eagles

hanhwa_eagles

  • KIA Tigers

KIA tigers

  • KT Wiz

  • LG Twins

  • Lotte Giants

  • NC Dinos

  • Nexen Heroes

  • Samsung Lions

  • SK Wyverns

SK Wyverns

Aside from the professional scene, college and high school level tournaments are huge and prestigious in Korea! There are roughly 70 schools in Korea who field baseball teams. Although not a lot of schools participate in baseball compared to other countries,  the players that do are top notch.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) also organises the KBO League, and the KBO Futures League. The latter is for prospective players from High Schools

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) also organises the KBO League, and the KBO Futures League. The latter is for scouting potential players from High Schools.

In fact, they are so skilled that the tournaments organised for them are called the Big 5. In Korea, these are the biggest high school baseball competitions of the year in terms of prize money and media exposure.

Daegu Baseball Stadium, Home of the Samsung Lions.

Here are the 5 Major Tournaments in Korea:

  • Blue Dragon Flag
  • Golden Lion Flag
  • President’s Cup
  • Grand Phoenix Flag
  • KBA President’s Flag

Besides the intensity of the professional and high school scene, baseball is also a a good past time sport between companies! Normal employees get to play baseball every now and then with other employees of different firms. Although it may seem friendly at first, these “casual” Korean players will give it all they have got to win due to the natural competitiveness and collective pride representing their companies.

Next time when you visit Korea, why not try batting at one of these 500won baseball practice cages scattered across Seoul? ^^

Batting cage

Image Sources: Daum, Korea Baseball Association, Homeplate.kr, Korea Baseball Organization, Tistory, Tistory Intersport, Wikipedia.

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