Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Playing baseball in Korea

From CJ Baseball, the blog by former major league pitcher C.J. Nitkowski, is a post about what it's like living in Korea. It's not all baseball related, but it is interesting:
- In Korea older moms and daughters or elderly female friends hold hands or interlock arms a lot when they are walking down the street. It looks nice.

- I saw an umpire standing behind the batting cage during batting practice getting into his game stance, watching the pitch and completely going through his ball and strike calls at the top of his lungs while another umpire critiqued him.

- During a recent game our team skipped batting practice. It wasn’t a day off from BP, those don’t exist in Asia, we had played poor defense the day before so instead of hitting we took infield practice during our BP time. I’d love to see the reaction of players in the States if you tried to pull that one off.

- I don’t think they use the term or sell things by the “dozen” in many places outside the U.S., ten eggs in a carton here.

- Single riders in taxi cabs in Korea often sit in the front seat next to the driver and leave the back seat empty.

- I had warmed up and was ready to start the 3rd inning the other day but had to wait because the manager of the other team was holding a full team meeting in the dugout. It wasn’t a short wait.

- About every other day I stop into Dunkin’ Donuts and grab some donuts for the manager and the team. The same girl is always working the counter and I always greet her with a smile and facial expression as to say “good morning, nice to see you again.” I can never get her to smile back and she always looks at me as if she has never seen me before. I am a face in the crowd in the States, but not here, I never see other foreigners.

- In the middle of an at bat the manager of the team hitting called timeout and summoned his batter over to the on deck circle and had a meeting with him that lasted at least a minute. I saw this twice in two separate games.

- Our team played a game against the Police…and lost.

- I checked into a hotel today that had clocks with times from around the world above the reception desk; Hong Kong, Tokyo, New York, Paris and London. I noticed the minute hand was not exactly the same on all of them which immediately bothered me. Upon further review I realized the second hands weren’t moving and that the batteries were dead in each clock, there is a part of me that wanted to go buy batteries and fix them.
I lived in Korea, and I can remember some of that. Never really thought much of it, to be honest. You get used to it all after awhile, and you kind of stop noticing it. Just a different way of living, and how people do things and play the game.

On the umpire thing, kind of different. When I work the plate and a pitcher is warming up before the game, or if it's a new pitcher, I'll get down in the stance to see how his motion looks and if he has an unusual delivery, or what the break is on his pitchers. But I'm not practicing my calls. Just not going to do it.

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