Cheng: In Korea, baseball becomes ‘girls night out’

From Jonathan Cheng at the Wall Street Journal on September 16, 2015, with mention of SABR member Patrick Bourgo:

On a recent Tuesday night, Han Ga-eun, a 20-year-old college student, and her older sister Su-jin sat high in the cheap seats at Seoul’s main baseball stadium.

Dressed in matching LG Twins jerseys, the Han sisters cheered for their struggling hometown team as it fell behind the rival Nexen Heroes. Five times a month the Han sisters do this: Eat fried chicken, sip beer and bang thundersticks in step with the crowd.

“When we were young, we used to come with our dad,” explains Su-jin over a raucous roar. “But he lost interest because LG isn’t as good anymore.”

Not so the sisters. The Twins may be 56-73 this season, second to last in the 10-team Korea Baseball Organization. But when these sisters aren’t at the stadium, they’re watching games on TVs or smartphones.

South Korean baseball is attracting ever larger—and ever younger—crowds, with particular growth among college students, young professionals and women. The Twins say that the percentage of women in its team fan club has jumped 45% this year from 25% in 2011.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: September 17, 2015. Last Updated: September 17, 2015.