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Gwangju – Kia Tigers and Moodeung Stadium

Gwangju – Kia Tigers and Moodeung Stadium

Last week I was able to take off a day from work and head over to Gwangju to see the home of the Kia Tigers.  This was one of 2 stadiums I had yet to see in Korea with the other one being the stadium in Daejeon, home of the Hanwha Eagles.

Kia plays at Moodeung Stadium in Gwangju.  The stadium was built in 1961 and seats just under 14,000 fans.

The bus ride to Gwangju from Daegu is a long one.  This was the main reason why I had put it off for so long.  I headed over to Seobu Bus Terminal to catch the 10:40 bus not knowing that it was going to take me over 4 hours.  The ride was slow since it was a long drive through the mountains and hills.  It was a beautiful drive however with green rolling hills and small villages along the way.  I got a nap here and there which was nice and arrived in Gwangju around 3pm.  The game didn’t start till 6:30 so I grabbed some lunch before hopping into a cab.

I got to the stadium around 3 hours before game time.  Typically the gates don’t open until 2 hours prior, so I wondered around the stadium to check out the surroundings.  There wasn’t a lot to see.  Next to the baseball stadium is an old track stadium where some younger kids were practicing.  Other than that I watched some Korean guys play catch with a ball as one tried pitching to the other off of a mound outside the stadium.

Finally it was time to head into the stadium.  It was a Thursday afternoon and Kia is way out of the playoff race so there were very few fans there early.  I had the chance to walk around most of the stadium to take some photos, but I was not able to get right behind home plate.  There are two main sections of the stadium.  Most of the stadium, maybe 95%, is general admission while the other 5%, which is right behind home plate, is reserved and requires you to enter via a certain entrance outside.  With only a general admission ticket, I had to settle with walking the rest of the stadium.

It’s a small stadium and very old.  Without a doubt it is the worst professional stadium I have ever seen anywhere.  It is an old concrete monstrosity with seats falling apart and no sign of anything being upgraded in the past 30 years.  Given that, it is a small stadium so every seat in the house has a good view of the game.

Moodeung Stadium Kia Tigers

Moodeung Stadium home of the Kia Tigers

Moodeung Stadium Kia Tigers

Moodeung Stadium home of the Kia Tigers

Moodeung Stadium Kia Tigers

Moodeung Stadium home of the Kia Tigers

The game itself wasn’t very exciting as the visiting Samsung Lions won easily against the defending champion Tigers.  Kia looks nothing like they did a year ago when they won the title, but I think that has a lot to do with injuries and players not performing like they did a year ago.  Samsung on the other hand looked good.  I got to see former MLB pitcher Tim Redding pitch for the Lions.  He started off bad with the first pitch being hit for a triple, but he settled down after that and pitched well.

Prior to the start of the game, I got the chance to walk around and get a feel for the stadium.  During batting practice there were 2 young kids out getting home run and foul balls.  I found 3 myself which goes to show there weren’t many people out to get the balls.  I gave 2 to the boys and kept 1 for a souvenir.  The boys wound up with around a dozen balls when it was all said and done.  They also got a few autographs.  They asked me a few times for a pen so someone could sign a ball.  They wanted a sharpie at one point so they could get their glove autographed, and I felt bad that I didn’t have one in my bag.  I’ll have to add one to my bag for next year.  They found one somewhere because they both had their gloves autographed when I saw them later.  They were very polite and gracious for the balls I gave them, even though they already had quite a few.

Moodeung Stadium Kia Tigers

One of the boys getting the home run balls.

Moodeung Stadium Kia Tigers

One of the boys getting the home run balls.

As the game began, a few Korean guys out in the outfield asked me to watch the game with them.  So I did.  They were very polite and happy to be watching the game with a foreigner.  One spoke very good English, but the other did not so he would ask his friend to ask me questions about MLB teams and players.  He was very happy that I was a Braves and Rangers fan because he was too.

It was a lot of fun watching the game with them.  They were very vocal and were really into the cheers and chants for the hometown Tigers.  I cheered for the Tigers with them, even though they knew my favorite team was Samsung.  At one point, a group of fans sitting to our left, a section or two over, left early and had some food to spare so they gave it to us.  I was told we were given the food because we were cheering the loudest.  I think it had more to do with the fact that nobody else was around.

Moodeung Stadium Kia Tigers

The two guys I watched the game with

Korean Food Jokbal - Pigs Feet

Korean Jokbal

The food was delicious, but it wasn’t what I was expecting.  The opened up the container and we all dug in.  I could tell it was a pork product with some spicy dipping sauce.  I had a few bites and then tried to pick up a piece that was quite big.  Then I noticed it.  We were eating pig’s feet. Here they eat what amounts to the foot and shin.  The shin part has some good meat on it and that is generally what is eaten.  I was a little turned off to find the whole feet in the package however, but was grateful for the generosity of everyone.

The game was fun.  The stadium was a piece of crap, but all in all I had a great time.  I was glad I got to see the place, but I don’t plan on going back anytime soon.

With that stadium visited, I have one left to go to see all 7 in Korea.  I hope to change that tomorrow after visiting Daejeon for the final game of the season there.  I’ll be back early next week to tell you about my trip there, and then I will break down each of the stadiums.

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5 Responses to “Gwangju – Kia Tigers and Moodeung Stadium”

  1. Gary Prohaska says:

    Hi, thanks for the interesting post on Korean ballparks. I’ve never been to Korea but I have watched the Korean WBC teams in both 06 and 09. Games against Japan were some of the best I’ve seen. Curious if you have any advice to offer. I am working on a couple of autograph card sets and Jae Weong Seo is one of the last cards in all 3 sets to get signed. How might I send cards thru the mail from the USA for him to sign? Do you have the address for the Kia Tigers? I’ve tried looking online but cannot find it and afraid even if I did I wouldn’t address the envelope correctly. Thanks for any help you can offer. Gary in Seattle.

  2. No sorry I don’t have an address but good luck with your set.

  3. KIA TIGERS says:

    http://www.tigers.co.kr/main_black.asp

    Hi Gary, I am a big fan of Kia Tigers (The most championship holder (10 times in 29 years). They are building a brand NEW stadium aiming to open in 2014. Hope you can visit.

    http://www.tigers.co.kr/
    http://www.tigers.co.kr/main_black.asp
    (address)

  4. Sebastian says:

    Hi Gary,
    Just curious on how to buy tickets to watch the KIA tigers. I’m a british tourist in Korea for a few weeks during my easter break and thought it’d be a good idea to catch a ball game in this crazy country. Any info on ticket reservation or buying and i’d be very grateful.
    thanks sebastian

  5. You can buy tickets through their website but its all in Korean. Showing up an hour or so before the game should allow you to get a ticket to the game. 95% of them are general admission and they usually do a lot of standing room only too.

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