First Game of 2010

I am sitting on a bus with an older man standing behind me, and all I can think about is how bad he needs a shower.  This was not the way I wanted to start such an important day.

I get up at 11 am and immediately check to see if my camera batteries are charged.  I hear the day going by outside my window, but all I can think about is a hot shower.  I need to get moving because today is a big day.  It’s the first weekend of baseball, and today I am going to see my first game for the year.  First things first though, I look for breakfast.

I head for the bus stop after I stop at Dunkin Donuts for my customary weekend blueberry bagel.  I have my iPod blaring some Jimmy Buffett, and I wait for the bus to take me to the park for the days festivities.  I have been looking forward to this for a few months now, and the excitement continues to build.

As I make the 30 minute trip downtown to the stadium, I can’t help but notice the smell of the gentleman behind me.  I tune it out as best I can.  The anticipation of seeing my first Korean baseball game overrides even the bad B.O. that waifs through the bus.  I arrive near the stadium, and I walk toward the park so giddy I feel like I am skipping.  A young boy walks up next to me and smiles.  I ask him if he likes baseball, and he just smiles.  I doubt he speaks any English.  Today I feel like I am a little boy again going to his first game.  I walk along the road with the sun beating down on my neck, and I can’t help but think about how far I have come in a year.

I remember arriving at the ballpark hoping and praying the rain would stay away.  The weather was not looking good for baseball that day.  I was very excited about finally getting to see Opening Day in Atlanta, home of the Braves.  The weather held off for several hours, and our seats were just under the edge of the overhang in the upper deck.  So there was a slight chance that even with some rain, we might not get too wet.

As the game wore on, the weather slowly turned.  A light rain began to fall, but in the distance the black sky was moving closer.  Then suddenly the sky opened and the downpour began.  Everyone started running for cover as the rain got harder.  We made our way down underneath the stands and started walking around getting a better look at Turner Field. I was a little saddened that I had finally made it to Opening Day in Atlanta, only to have it storm.  The game was postponed in the 4th inning, and would be for just over 2 hours.  By the time they resumed play, my friends and I had made it back to the house to finish watching the Braves win in extra innings on TV.

Today there is no TV, just a beautiful spring day.  We watch the game from behind a section down the right field line, and I boo and cheer with every crack of the bat.  Spring is a beautiful time of year.  It’s a time of rebirth, and a time for baseball.  I realize today that while I am still a stranger in a strange land, for a  few hours we are all cheering for the same team.  I feel the game of baseball brings me a little bit closer to the Koreans I am cheering with.  We may cheer in a foreign language to the other, but I have a feeling we are saying the same things.  A home run is hit, and I give a little nod to a man nearby.  Baseball helps bridge our language gap for this one day.  I really enjoy the experience of today as I walk away from the park.  Thomas and I call over a cab.  It carries us toward our dinner destination, and I can’t help but think of where I might be next year on Opening Day.

Posted in MLB, KBO2 Comments

Korean Baseball Organization is Going Green in 2010

The Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) is going green this year.  In an effort to cut down on the electricity used during games, the KBO is installing new rules for the 2010 season.  Pitchers will now have 12 seconds to make the next pitch.  The first infraction will be a warning with the insuing infractions ruled as a ball to the batter.  I guess this effectively eliminates any possibility that Vincente Padilla would ever play in Korea.

Other steps are being installed to cut down on the length of games.  Batters will be encouraged to go to the plate quickly, and all bullpen cars will be electric.  Some stadiums will also use solar power in parts of the park and some will switch to more energy efficient LED lights.

Korea is not the first to implement such rules.  Japan took similar steps in its professional baseball league in 2008 to shorten games.

I am looking forward to March 27th and opening day here in Daegu, South Korea.

Citizens Stadium - Daegu, South Korea

Posted in KBO0 Comments

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