Archive | Stadiums

Best Baseball Stadiums in Korea

One of my goals this year was to see a game in all of the stadiums here in Korea.  There are 7 stadiums in the KBO.  Most of them are older and outdated.  The teams here are used more as marketing objects than money makers so little is put back into the stadiums.  I visited my last stadium after visiting Daejeon Baseball Stadium on the last day of the season.  After seeing the last stadium, I decided to rank the stadiums of the KBO.

Here are my rankings of the 7 in the league.

#7 Moodeung Stadium – Home of the Kia Tigers

Clearly the worst stadium is Moodeung Stadium in Gwangju, home of the Kia Tigers. The most successful team in KBO league history (10 championships) has not use any of that success to upgrade the ballpark. The seats are falling apart, the stadium is plain and ugly with everything made of concrete, and there is nothing aesthetically appealing about the stadium at all. But it doesn’t stop there. The concession choices are limited, and what they do have is not very good.

Moodeung Baseball Stadium Kia Tigers

Moodeung Baseball Stadium - Home of the Kia Tigers

#6 Daegu Baseball Stadium – Home of the Samsung Lions

Daegu Baseball Stadium is only a slight step up from Moodeung. Again a concrete monstrocity, the stadium is crammed with little room to move around with narrow isles. The seats are old and uncomfortable, and the food that is offered is not very good. When going to a game here bring in your own food. The only positive that can be pulled form this stadium is the atmosphere. With so many fanatical fans, the stadium can be rocking when full, but that is league wide and not specific to Daegu.

Daegu Baseball Stadium Samsung Lions

Daegu Baseball Stadium - Home of the Samsung Lions

#5 Daejeon Baseball Stadium – Home of the Hanwha Eagles

Another horrible stadium by American standards, Daejeon Baseball Stadium gets the nod over Daegu simply for their concessions being out among the stands instead of on a concourse away from the action. Again an old, run down place to watch a game with not a lot offered as far as food selection, the stadium could use a lot of work.

Daejeon Baseball Stadium Hanwha Eagles

Daejeon Baseball Stadium - Home of the Hanwha Eagles

#4 Jamsil Baseball Stadium – Home of the LG Twins and Doosan Bears

The only stadium shared by two teams, Jamsil was built in the early 80’s like most other stadiums in Korea. It hosted the 1988 Olympic Baseball Games and is situated next to Seoul Olympic Stadium. This is one of the bigger stadiums in the league holding over 30,000. It’s a nice place to see a game and reminds me a lot of the old cookie-cutter fields from the USA. The food selection is much better here with more choices inside and out of the stadium.

Jamsil Stadium LG Twins Doosan Bears

Jamsil Baseball Stadium - Home of the LG Twins and Doosan Bears

#3 Sajik Baseball Stadium – Home of the Lotte Giants

Sajik is also known as the Mecca for Korean Baseball. It is a nice stadium that really benefits from being in Busan on the coast. Many nights the air will get cooler and a nice breeze will blow in off the water, which makes the game a bit more enjoyable during summer. It is one of the bigger stadiums holding over 28,000 fans, and might be the most energetic stadium. The food selection is good with a lot of variety, the fans are phenomenal, and it’s just a great place to see a game.

Sajik Baseball Stadium Lotte Giants

Sajik Baseball Stadium - Home of the Lotte Giants

#2 Mokdong Baseball Stadium – Home of the NEXEN Heroes

I got a really good feeling when I visited Mokdong Stadium. It is in the middle of the pack as far as size holding around 18,000. I really enjoyed the stadium because I got the same feeling I did when I went to minor league games in the States in that I felt close to the game. There is no seating in the outfield so it forces you down the baselines where you get the feeling of being close to the players. The food selection was decent, and the fans were again very enthusiastic even for a losing team.

Mokdong Baseball Stadium NEXEN Heroes

Mokdong Baseball Stadium - Home of the NEXEN Heroes

#1 Munhak Stadium – Home of the SK Wyverns

Clearly in a class of its own, Munhak Stadium is a great place to watch a game. This is the only stadium in Korea that could come close to a Major League Stadium in America. Really the only thing it might lack is a lot of luxury boxes. It would make a great minor league stadium as is. It has the look and feel of a great stadium with a grass area in left field to throw down a blanket and watch the game. In right field there is a BBQ area where you can rent a space and cook during the game. It is also the only recently built stadium having been built in 2001. This is the #1 place to see baseball in Korea.

Munhak Baseball Stadium SK Wyverns

Munhak Baseball Stadium - Home of the SK Wyverns

Honorable Mention
Suwon Baseball Stadium – This stadium is no longer being used in the KBO, but it is better than half of the stadiums in use. It is the former home of the Hyundai Unicorns, which is now the NEXEN Heroes. The stadium is still used for high school tournaments.

Suwon Baseball Stadium

Suwon Baseball Stadium - Former Home of the Hyundai Unicorns

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Posted in KBO, Stadiums, Travel5 Comments

Daejeon – Hanwha Eagles and Daejeon Baseball Stadium

Daejeon Baseball Stadium, home of the Hanwha Eagles, was the last stadium for me to see in Korea.  It is also the closest to Daegu so I kept putting it off.  So Sunday September 26th, I decided to head up and see the final game of the season with the home team Hanwha Eagles squaring off with the Kia Tigers.

Daejeon Baseball Stadium is another older stadium in the KBO.  I am not sure of the year it was built, but I am guessing at least the early 1980s.  It holds just over 13,000 fans and is different in one aspect from most stadiums I have been to. The concession stands are not in a concourse but out among the seats, so if you are getting a drink you can still see the action.  It is a typical KBO stadium in that it has a lot of uncomfortable plastic seats and a lot of concrete.

Daejeon Baseball Stadium

Daejeon Baseball Stadium

Daejeon Baseball Stadium

Daejeon Baseball Stadium

I was surprised with how many people showed up for the final game of the season, especially since both teams are near the bottom of the standings with Hanwha being in last.  It was a beautiful Sunday evening, and a lot of people showed up for the game which gave it a great atmosphere.

Daejeon Baseball Stadium

Daejeon Baseball Stadium

Hanwha got off to a great start with 2 home runs in the first 2 innings, and after 2 innings they led 4-2.  The game got a little more interesting when early on a fly ball was hit to left field.  The left fielder took a bad route and wound up diving, but the he over ran the ball and it dropped.  I had a great view sitting down the left field line, and I could easily see how he overran the ball.  A few pitches later, he was replaced mid-inning.  That is not something that is seen very often, but he was pulled for another fielder.

Another interesting note was how the pitcher at one point threw over to first base at least 10 times while only throwing 2 pitches to the hitter.  If that happens in the US, fans are booing nonstop.  There wasn’t a word said while he was doing it. I didn’t hear any boos until the Kia runner was eventually picked off, and the Kia fans let him have it.

It was a lot of fun.  Hanwha won big 11-3.  I saw 2 home runs, some great defense, and the fans were amazing. I even got to see the wave done for the first time in Korea.  I love the wave back home.  I don’t really know why. I think it stems from being a child and going to MLB games where they would do it and having so much fun then.  When I am at a game now I am still like a little kid.

Daejeon Baseball Stadium

Daejeon Baseball Stadium

The stadium itself was uneventful, but I am glad I got to see it. It doesn’t rate at the worst, but its not near the top either. Soon I will be ranking the stadiums in Korea.

‘Till then,

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Posted in KBO, Stadiums1 Comment

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.

Posted in KBO, Stadiums5 Comments

Incheon – SK Wyverns and Munhak Baseball Stadium

Last week during my summer vacation, I got the chance to make a trip up to Seoul/Incheon and see the home of the SK Wyverns.  I was glad I made the trip.  Munhak Baseball Stadium is the best stadium I’ve seen in so far in Korea.  I have been to 5 of the 7 used by the KBO, and this one really stands out as the gem of the league.

The stadium was built in 2001 and holds 28,500 people.  Maybe a little small for MLB standards, but this one is nice no matter what league you play in.  The stadium has all the amenities you would normally find in a professional stadium, plus a few extras.  Above the left field stands is a small grassy area where families can spread a blanket and have picnics. In the right field stands there is an area where you can have BBQs.  Both areas were full of patrons on the Friday night I was there.  Two large video boards sit in above the outfield seats and bring you all the information and highlights you need.  The hitters background in center field is a tree lined area where a fountain will go off when a Wyverns player hits a home run.

I was treated to a pitching duel that included former major leaguer Roman Colon of the Kia Tigers. Colon pitched great but in the end would be saddled with the loss.  An error in the first inning would lead to an unearned run, and that would be the difference in the end as SK would beat Kia 2-1.

The SK fans were awesome.  Cheering and screaming the entire game.  The one thing that stood out from the cheerleading was hearing what sounded like the music to New Kids On the Block’s Hanging Tough.   Repeatedly they would play this music while cheering on their team.  Each time it came on I would crack a little smile and think about the little league games I played in.  There was a team I played against and for that would play hanging tough between innings.  Thankfully the league finally banned them from playing music.

One thing I really enjoyed about Munhak Stadium was that with 1 ticket you could walk around just about anywhere in the stadium to sit.  The general admission seats run 8,000 won and run from dugout through the outfield to the opposite dugout.  There isn’t a bad seat in the house.  I watch some of the game from the outfield, to the infield, to the seats high up above home plate.  All were great places to see the game.

There was one fan that stood out.  Anytime there was music, he was waving his hands around in a circular motion like a madman.  It was quite funny to see this guy do this EVERYTIME there was music.  No matter if it was a short 10 second clip of music or for almost 2 minutes between innings, he was going at it and going hard.  Below you will see a picture of him.  I have dubbed him the Wyverns #1 fan.  I took a video of him (I was in the upper deck so he is a little small), but it’s worth a look.  Enjoy.

I highly recommend taking in a game in Incheon if you are ever in Seoul.  It’s just a subway ride away, and you won’t be disappointed.  Take a look at some of the photos I took while at the game.  If you’d like to see more of Munhak Stadium, please check out my Flickr page.

Munhak Baseball Stadium

View from CF Munhak Baseball Stadium

With the SK Wyverns Mascot

SK Wyverns #1 Fan

Posted in KBO, Stadiums1 Comment

Busan – Sajik Stadium and the Lotte Giants

My planned trip to Taiwan fell through, but in the end it opened up a few more opportunities to see some baseball here in Korea.  One of my goals for this year was to see each stadium in the KBO.  Before this past weekend, I had only been able to make it to 3 of the 7 stadiums.  I go to knock two more off the list this past week.

I started off in Busan, home of the Lotte Giants.  The Giants have won the title 2 years but not since 1992.  They are one of the more popular teams in Korea, and inevitably when I ask a student who their favorite team is about half the time it is the Giants.  The Giants dominated the All-Star team this year placing 8 on the starting team for the East.

The Giants play their home games in Sajik Baseball Stadium.  Built in 1985, Sajik holds 28,500 people and is a nice stadium by KBO standards.  I was anxious to finally visit what I have heard is the “Mecca for Baseball” in Korea.  It didn’t disappoint.

The Giants are fighting with the LG Twins for the 4th and final playoff spot this year.  They have a potent offense filled with power hitters, but their pitching is a little susceptible which was on display Thursday night.

The game got out of hand early for Lotte when starting pitcher Lee Jae-gon gave up 7 runs on 3 HRs all in the 2nd inning. Two of the HRs were hit by the Kia Tigers leadoff man Lee Yong-gyu (who had 0 homers heading into the game). Lee Yong-gyu hit a 3-run homer in his first at bat and then a grand slam in his second at bat of the inning.  From there, Kia cruised to a 12-5 victory.

The stadium is very nice for Korean standards, but lacking by western standards.  It was still a nice experience and the weather couldn’t have been any nicer.  The best part of watching games in Busan is the cool nights.  With it being on the coast, it is usually cooler than other parts of the country.  The night I was there a nice breeze was blowing (and judging by the Kia bats it was blowing out).

I highly recommend anyone in Busan to take in a game.  The excitement was electrifying.  Even down 10 runs early, the Giants fans never stopped cheering on their team.  This seems to be pretty standard for the Korean fan, and honestly this is really endearing to me.  Any game back home would be dead silent after the visiting team goes up 10-0 in the 2nd inning, but to the Giant’s fans credit they never gave up.

Stay tuned – next up I will be writing about a trip I made to Incheon to see the league leading SK Wyverns.

‘Till then enjoy a few pictures from Busan.  If you would like to see more, feel free to check out my Flickr page.

Also don’t forget to check out the new video posted on the homepage.  It’s a great manager meltdown from the minors.

Sajik Baseball Stadium Busan, South Korea

Me and the Lotte Giants Mascot

Sajik Baseball Stadium Busan, South Korea

Rally Bags?

Posted in KBO, Stadiums0 Comments

Daegu Baseball Stadium

Daegu Baseball Stadium

Home of the Samsung Lions

Located near downtown Daegu, Daegu Baseball Stadium has the feel of a small town stadium.  I have really enjoyed my trips to the stadium but it has nothing to do with the stadium itself.

The atmosphere is what makes this stadium great.  The fans are passionate and they seem to be fairly knowledgeable.  The cheering is frantic and often.  The chants from behind the home team dugout are amazing.  The energy the fans have here is simply amazing.

There are some downsides though.  The Lions are playing well right now, so the games I have attended have been packed with fans.  The seating is the biggest flaw.  The majority of seats are general admission and are first-come first-served.  A lot of the fans get there early to get seats and generally take up more than needed.  They will use the extra seats to set their food down leaving the rest of the fans to either stand, which many do, or sit on the ground somewhere.  The stadium holds 13,941, but I think they sell standing room only tickets as well.  The games are really packed with fans which makes for an electric environment.

The food selection is nothing like what you would find back home in the States, but it really isn’t the same anywhere here in Asia.  Instead of hot dogs you will find cup of noodles, mandu (dumplings), and other assorted goodies.  Food and beverages can be brought in which is always nice as well.  Chicken is a favorite it seems at games.  There is a row of stands outside the stadium that sell fried chicken and other goodies.

I purchased some chicken strips from a vendor before the game.  The quality was quite nice and it was enough to feed 2 people for 5,000 won or around $5.  It’s definitely worth bringing in some of your favorite foods since the selection at the games are thin.   I have seen many people bringing in pizzas and other goodies from outside restaurants so anything goes.

The ballpark itself is old.  It was built in 1981 and is typical for a stadium built in that time.  A lot of concrete and not a lot else.  The seats are old and do not have the extras you will find in the states such as cup holders and arm rests.  Some of the seats have tables in front of them making it easier for people to eat/drink during the game.  These are not the majority however and the few that exist for the general admission crowd I would assume go rather quick after the gates open.

Overall Daegu Baseball Stadium is a fun place to see a game but that has nothing to do with stadium itself.  The fans make this a place worth stopping in to catch a game.

Posted in Stadiums0 Comments


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