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‘Get Ready to Scream’: How to Be a Baseball Fan in South Korea

In the United States, many Major League Baseball games feature long periods of calm, punctuated by cheering when there’s action on the field or the stadium organ plays a catchy tune.

But in South Korea, a baseball game is a sustained sensory overload. Each player has a fight song, and cheering squads — including drummers and dancers who stand on platforms near the dugouts facing the spectators — ensure that there is near-constant chanting. Imagine being at a ballpark where every player, even a rookie, gets the star treatment.

“You should get ready to scream,” said Kim Seongjun, 26, a fan who attended an exhibition game in Seoul over the weekend. “It’s fun to get on your feet and cheer.”

Also, the food is on another level. Think of the ballpark as a giant buffet of Korean street food.

All of this awaits the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres when they open the M.L.B. season in Seoul this week. Here’s a guide for visiting fans.

Get on your feet

Clockwise from top left, Kiwoom Heroes fans; Jung Jihoon, 22, drumming for the San Diego Padres; the South Korean national team’s cheering squad; the Heroes’ mascots, Teokdori and Dongguri.

Step into any South Korean ballpark and you’ll be encouraged to get up and participate in cheering routines almost constantly from first pitch to last out. Fans typically watch their respective team’s cheering squad and repeat the chants, songs and dances performed by its cheerleaders, drummers and their leader, the “cheer master.”

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