Playing Baseball, Jeju, South Korea
The amateur league baseball season on Jeju has begun and the huge stadium behind the bus terminal in Jeju City is alive with the sounds of the game. However, it’s something you usually don’t hear much of – apart from a circulating rumour that some foreigners are participating on an undetermined day at an undetermined time. Jeju Life managed to track down one of those foreigners, Canadian Troy MacLellan, to find out more.
MacLellan’s history with Baseball
MacLellan‘s first encounters with the league came in October 2007 when he went to see Matt Leman playing. After watching for a while, he asked to sign up and five minutes later found himself on the same roster as his friend. But, with the season coming to a close, it wouldn’t be until April 2008 that he’d be able to start.
Prior to joining here, MacLellan had played little league until he was sixteen and busted his elbow. More recently, he played softball with his university while continuing to play for recreation and fun with friends.
In the Jeju league, the level of recreation or seriousness seems to depend on the player. He notes: “[the players] are fathers. They just want to get out and have some fun… I do too, but my competitive edge comes every now and again.” The team he plays for won last year and there are high expectations to repeat the success.
How has the reception been towards the foreigners on the team? “I think it has been a really good reception,” he says. “In fact, the Baseball Association has asked to get foreigners on other teams.” Currently only two (including MacLellan) participate.
You don’t have to step foot on the field to be a part of the proceedings either. There is no admission fee to enter the stadium, so you can walk in and take a seat. Perhaps bring a barbeque, bring some soju and enjoy yourselves in the stands. “When you’re watching the pitches and behind is Hallasan, the sun is setting over right field. It’s just a beautiful place,” MacLellan waxes lyrically.
However, he offers this advice for those wanting to sign up: be committed. “If you’re going to sign up, go to every game… it’s representing the foreigners.” And he does make one note of caution. There is a language barrier. “I don’t speak Korean. They don’t speak English… try and get two people to play on a team so you’re not so alone.”
The season has already started and, the sooner you sign up, the sooner you can get on a team and the sooner you can get playing. “It’s a lot of fun,” MacLellan finishes, “baseball is a lot of fun.”
The regular season runs from early April until late October. There is a break in November followed by the playoffs in early December. Games are played once every two weeks with practice on the off weeks. Games have a two hour time limit. To sign up, you’ll need your name, passport, address and 200,000 won. For your money you’ll get 10-12 games, 10-12 practices and food after each. For equipment, you’ll need a glove and cleats.
If anyone is interested in signing up, call Troy at 010-5805-6263. For those more pro-active, visit the association office at the stadium during office hours. Telephone: 064-755-6867 Name: 이 일큔 Translator advised.
The stadium is located within the sports complex behind the bus terminal in Jeju City.
Baseball Stadium Location
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