Chaos and Kanji is the blog where I write about my adventures through Japan!

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Friday, May 16, 2014

Collecting Korea: The Baseball Souvenirs

When it comes to baseball goodies, I try to get something different every time. There's only so much selection with a small budget and a limited amount of luggage and storage space, though, so sometimes I find myself getting some fairly strange stuff, or buying the "same old stuff" I have for many other teams.
What Korean cats do to entertain themselves.

Korean baseball souvenirs are fairly limited. There is a great selection of clothing, mainly focusing on jerseys, shirts, and a decent range of hat styles. Every team had logo baseballs, keychains, and visible goods that you could wear or apply to publicly-viewed belongings. Beyond that, I saw a couple toy team buses, which I wouldn't mind having. Korea and Taiwan teams use buses to get from stadium to stadium, and given the size of the countries that's not too tough. But those buses ran over $30 each!

I went to six games in Korea, but I tried to find one item for each of the nine teams. Let's see, shall we?
 We start pretty simply with a jersey-design keychain from the NC Dinos.
 But what's this? This is a wyvern (not wyrven). The SK Wyverns were selling these for a buck each, and since there wasn't anything else really enticing I grabbed one. Yes, it's a kid's headband. But sitting on a shelf over my Wyverns hat it'll look fine.
 Here's a traditional-style fan from the Nexen Heroes. I bought this at my first ballgame, along with another Heroes item you'll see later.
 The Kia Tigers had an impressive team store. It's spacious, clean, well-lit, and it felt empty. The team goods are mostly apparel-based, along with a small selection of keychains, phone straps, and a baseball or two.
 I bought the ball because it had the logo for the new stadium on it. As I was leaving, though, I saw a really nice box of chocolates for $15. Quite pricey, but the box would have been a great memento after enjoying the goodies inside.
 I don't believe I saw the LG Twins play in any of the games I attended. The flea markets had a few dealers with a few different team "signed" baseballs. You're familiar with this style of ball, I'm sure. The signatures are printed on the ball, not hand-signed by the players.
 Well, the dealers are ignorant or thought that I was, because they tried to tell me it was a signed ball. Nope, it's not. It may have signatures, but it isn't signed. One dealer was intelligent enough to let it go for $5, more than I'd probably usually pay but since I wasn't seeing the Twins it ended up being my only chance to get some Twins merchandise.
 The third and final team ball is of the Samsung Lions. You can't go wrong with the slogan "Yes, keep going!!!" and this was bought at my first KBO game along with the Heroes fan above.
 The other side has the other Lions logo. It's pretty run-of-the-mill.

During the season, at least on game days, there's a store inside the Jamsil Sports Complex subway station that sells a lot of baseball souvenirs. I think they're quite intelligent because I'm pretty sure they have at least one souvenir from every team. Yes, that souvenir is probably the team logo ball. But if that shop had been open in January when I visited in 2013, I would have bought one team logo ball for every team.
 I didn't get any team logo balls there, but I saw this official game ball from 2012 and bought it for $12. I hope it's "official" because I know Skyline is one of the official supplier of balls for KBO.
 The back has the dates and location of the game.
 Speaking of game balls, I came home with three KBO batting practice balls. One came from my first game. Almost all of the printing is gone, though the gold KBO logo can be seen beneath the sweet spot.
 The second game gave me my second ball. This, too, had almost no more indication of where it came, but the black KBO logo can be seen below the sweet spot.
 I went three games without getting a baseball. I'm not complaining; I showed up late and/or left early to those because of time constraints. And I was happy with the two BP balls I had already. But I did want a ball that showed all the markings of an official KBO ball. I was hoping that Jamsil store had official KBO balls, but they didn't, and on my last day I was afraid I'd go home a little disappointed. I'm still a bit angry at myself for not buying the official CPBL (Taiwan) game ball when I had the chance.
 As you can see, my last game in Incheon gave me exactly what I wanted. This ball is in pretty good condition with all of the markings intact. You can see the logo of another supplier, Big Line. I wouldn't mind having a collection of game balls from all the different leagues; I have MLB, NPB (purchased, not game-used), KBO, and several of the US minor leagues.

But back to the team goods.
 Show your love for your favorite player with this iron-on patch. I wasn't planning on buying an actual Korean jersey (or at least, an official replica) when I purchased this. I bought it for the Hangul name at the top. I saw at least a couple teams selling these.
Some teams were really hard to shop at, because so many of the souvenirs are the same from team to team. The Eagles had such generic stuff that I had to decide between another ball and this metal logo sticker. It's a little larger than postcard sized and has embossed metal highlights which showed up really well in the scan. You can tell that there's a protective coating over the face of the sticker, too.
 At the checkout counter I noticed a small plant growing in a mini capsule, placed in a little box. I admired it for a little bit, and the checkout girl gave me one as a gift.
I think you could get these through some form of promotion, though I don't exactly know how. There are some seeds and a little capsule, and the cool little box it came in. I'm tempted to try to grow my little plant, but then again having the whole thing intact is great too.

Okay, let's run down the teams:

  • NC Dinos: check.
  • LG Twins: check.
  • Nexen Heroes: check.
  • Kia Tigers: check.
  • SK Wyverns: check.
  • Hanwha Eagles: check.
  • Samsung Lions: check.
  • Lotte Giants: ...
  • Doosan Bears: ...
Actually, if you recall in an earlier post I showed my jerseys from the Giants and Bears, so they are "check" as well. So I came home with at least one thing from every team on this trip! And in 2013, I also bought a few souvenirs so my collection feels pretty much complete. Until the new team (KT Wiz) starts playing next year. Oh well, there will be three stadiums to visit next time I go to Korea (Busan, Daegu, and the new team in Suwon). Suwon is part of the Seoul metro area.

Okay, that's almost all of my souvenirs from Korea. I still have the cards I picked up, which I should bring you tomorrow! Until then...

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