“Kkang! Shuik! Wow~” The white arc pierces the clear sky with a cheerful sound. It’s been a month since professional baseball season has opened, the sport people recall with the beginning of summer, and it has been overflowing with excitement. Following its start with six teams on March 27th, 1982, professional baseball has reached its thirtieth anniversary with a total of eight teams this year. Baseball has proven to be the best professional sport in Korea, both in name and reality, after accumulating over 100,000 fans last year. Behind its great popularity, there is also the love and passionate, unified cheers from celebrity fans. With the start of the new season, we looked into stars that live and die for baseball.
Doosan Bears’ winning goddesses are girl group Girls’ Generation?
Something that has become one of the most entertaining things to watch during games is the first pitch. With the increase in baseball fans visiting the stadiums, there have become heated competitions between teams as to whom they will choose to throw out the first pitch. We had a question and answer session with Doosan’s marketing team, asking questions that have been surfacing about celebrities throwing out first pitches that have become lively following its start in 2007.
Q. How are people chosen to throw out the first pitch?
-It’s a fifty-fifty case of either the pitching department of the team casting them personally, or the team receiving a request from the celebrity. With the increase of interest in throwing out the first pitch, the waiting list has about 30-40 people on it. The most important thing when choosing a pitcher is whether the person really has any affection or love for the team. Because there are so many fans watching, it’s only a matter of time before one can see if the celebrity really is a fan.
Q. Do they receive separate training to pitch?
-Persons throwing out the first pitch is usually chosen ten days before the game, so they have to practice themselves. On the day of the game, they come an hour early and receive one-on-one lessons from the players. The lessons are usually conducted by the youngest players, but when Girls’ Generation, KARA, Secret, or other girl groups come to pitch, the other players volunteer to teach them.
Q. Do pitchers get paid separately?
-There is nothing like that. The most we do is give them the uniform, hat, and baseball as souvenirs. Once the season ends, as a way of giving thanks, we give them a framed photo of them pitching.
Q. Whom would you choose as the goddess of luck out of all pitchers?
-Of course, it’s Girls’ Generation. We met in stadiums three to four times since 2007, and the results were always good. Along with Yoona, Seohyun, Yuri, and Sooyoung pitching, Doosan beat Samsung during the 6th game of the playoffs in 2008, at which Girls’ Generation sang the national anthem. When it comes to the general skill of pitching, Hong Sooah is the best. She pitches so well, that you may say she’s unrivaled.