VandenHurk Compares Korean Baseball Stadium to Concert

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Samsung's Dutch pitcher, Rick VandenHurk, was interviewed for an article that appeared at Osen Sports today. This is basically a fluff piece. You will see stories like this about the foreign players every year, asking them what they think about life in Korea. I'm sure many foreign residents in Korea will be able to relate to some of the trite questions asked by curious Koreans (food, etc).

There is a translation below. Please note that this was translated from the Korean news article to English. I would assume that VandenHurk was interviewed in English. So please be aware that these quotes are "double translated" and are almost certainly not his exact words, but the general ideas should all be there.

VandenHurk, "Korean Baseball Stadiums are like a Concert"

For foreign players, the biggest test is whether or not they can adapt to Korean culture. No matter how good your skills might be on the field, if you can’t adapt to the culture you will not last long. Even players who have experience in the MLB are sometimes sent packing.

This season one of the new entrants is the well known Dutch pitcher Rick VandenHurk (Samsung). Asian culture is unfamiliar to him, but so far he is satisfied with life in Daegu. “Samsung is a really great team. Everyone has taken care of Rodriguez and I, and helped us to adapt.”

On his days off VandenHurk enjoys sightseeing while holding his fiancees hand. They don’t want to miss any of the tourist sites in the Daegu area, such as Palgongsan. “We want to experience part of Korean culture,” he said.

“My fiancee seems to be enjoying Daegu life more than I am. She is learning a lot about Korean culture. Now she is taking a Korean language class at the YMCA. She is a passionate person,” VandenHurk said. If there are opportunities they are interested in teaching English or other volunteer work. They have also become accustomed to Korean food. He likes steamed eggs and spicy fried chicken. His fiancee does the cooking.

VandenHurk was asked, “What has impressed you the most about Korea?” He answered, “There’s so many things. I’ll tell you three of them. Donghwasa, and the landscape around it was beautiful. Also, I was impressed by the passionate baseball fans, seeing the cheerleaders, banging drums, singing songs together.  It feels like a concert. Another thing is the manners/etiquette between older and younger players. That was very new to me.”

Daegu is notorious for its summer heat. But Daegu Stadium, due to the nature of the artificial turf, can be even hotter.  In the summer it can feel like 40 degrees on the field. Even if you are standing still the sweat pours down like rain. Fans have been installed in the dugout, but even that can’t beat the Daegu heat. We asked VandenHurk for tips on how to cope with the summer heat.

“Drink a lot of water,” he laughed. “Baseball players don’t care about heat or cold, they have to play no matter what. Rodriguez, being from the Dominican Republic, might be more comfortable with the heat than I am. I haven’t gotten used to it yet, but I think I can adapt,” he responded.

Original Article (Korean)