They’re baseball crazy in Korea

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Korean baseball has been on the rise for years. Even with recent gambling scandals, it has surged to the top of Korean sports fans’ list and is the most-watched sport in the country. Today there’s a good story in the Christian Science Monitor exploring the popularity of the KBO:

Cho cites two factors behind his judgment: One is that Korean parks hold no more than about 30,000 seats, so everyone can see.

Another is that all teams have wildly enthusiastic cheerleaders who put on elaborate routines similar to those of K-Pop groups on Korean TV. Typically, the female cheerleaders are led by a young man who acts as emcee, backed by loud music. The effect draws thousands into cheering and singing in full-throated solidarity.

 

The “judgment” referred to there is Cho’s judgment that, in America, people go to baseball games “for the atmosphere” as opposed to the actual baseball, but in Korea fans are fanatical. Which is somewhat undercut by all the references to short-skirt-clad cheerleaders and K-Pop-style dance routines, but we’ll leave that go as there is definitely some serious baseball rah-rah involved in it all.

Bonus to the story: Andy Marte sighting! I figured he had been abducted by aliens or something.

Angels’ Pujols passes Mays for 5th on homer list with No. 661

Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols passed Willie Mays for fifth place on the career home run list, hitting No. 661 on Friday night against Texas.

The 40-year-old Pujols connected for a solo homer with two outs in the fifth inning. He sent Wes Benjamin‘s fastball on a 1-2 count over the wall in left field.

Pujols has hit five homers this season. He tied Mays last Sunday at Colorado.

It is only Pujols’ second home run since Aug. 4. He now trails only Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714) and Alex Rodriguez (696).

Pujols has one more season left on his contract with the Angels after this year.

Benjamin was the 428th different pitcher Pujols homered against in his career. Only Bonds has homered against more pitchers (449).