Baseball is Better in Korea
I, like many of you, am trapped in my apartment amidst a rapidly decaying state. My usual wakeup routine, looking at the newspaper with breakfast, is now an exercise in emotional torment and powerlessness. But good news fellow lovers of bizzaro shit and sportsball, I have a brief but resplendent antidote, one that gives hot narratives and levity. Each morning with a cup of coffee and fruit, I consume three hours of joyous hardball action. An ocean away and several hours prior, the NC Dinos play, uniforms emblazoned with gold and wine-dark seas.
You see, the NC Dinos, a recent korean expansion team based in Changwon, are seemingly designed in a laboratory to appeal to Zoomers. Simply load up Twitch.TV and find them launching dinger after dinger into the crowdless stands, adorning themselves with lais, pirouetting through strikeouts, and loving thine enemies
Their leader, a brontosaurus named SWOLE DADDY, bows and gyrates with an enthusiastic cheersquad backing him and his accompanying horde of masked dinosaur mascots. They sing and dance for each other, their colors, their city, and the cardboard fans- My face amongst them.
Often victorious (17-3) and always exciting (coming from behind frequently) , the Dinos are the apex predators of the Korean Baseball Organization. And while I love winning, imagining myself as a scantily clad cheerleader, and Dinosaurs, what I love most is the freedom to revel in joy.
Each day, tuning into the archived Korean Broadcast, I hear no english language news, no talk about labor negotiations, of rushing back to work, how the game is too long, or has too many home runs or strikeouts, or too few balls in play. I am immersed in reciprocal love.
Stripped of American corporate media mind control, all that remains are the rhythms of the game. The vocal punctuations and melodies of epic catches, slumping hitters, defensive miscues, silly T-rexes, and routine plays are simultaneously alien and familiar.
I don’t need to know what they are saying to know what they are saying, to have my heart skip a beat at a warning-track leap by Kang Jin-Sung, to scream in meaningless frustration as my overly large fail-son Aaron Althear fucks up yet again. His levers too long to meaningfully coordinate.
There is more of course, fight songs, player cheers, dances, and sweet, sweet, dino merch. But that’s all garnish to the main course.
I have never felt closer to baseball, to the game as it needed to be played. I am a child again, in the infinite expanse of memorizing baseball statistics, names of players, uniforms, cities I have never visited, it's a knowing whose only utility is being and sharing. All that’s missing is a lemon ice on a sweltering Miami evening.
So come companions and comrades, let us sing in the key of RAWR, embrace our new daddy, and join the horde. I’m waiting for ya.