Tag Archive | "Korea"

A Trip to Seoul as a Member of the Media


The first two weekends of September will be ones I won’t long forget. I had the opportunity to go to Seoul and watch the 18U World Baseball Championships. Not only did I get to watch, but I was a member of the press. Through my other website, BaseballdeWorld.com, I was able to secure a press credential.

Sadly due to the lack of the ability to take vacation, I was only able to go for the weekend action. That being said, I had an amazing time.

I love writing about baseball, talking baseball, and generally anything baseball related. While at the games I sat in the media room where I was armed with my laptop writing away about the action on the field for my site. It was a great experience and one I’d love to relive. I always wondered what it was like to be a sports journalist, and while I didn’t have the deadlines and stress that I am sure comes with the job, I enjoyed my time.

For a couple of the games, I took to the stands to watch the action with my friend Kihoon who lives in Seoul. That was a lot of fun watching some great games and getting to talk a little baseball.

However, the best part of the whole deal was getting to see the USA win a gold medal in baseball. I’ve been fortunate to see a lot of great sporting events, including the world championships in track and field where I saw multiple American gold medals and some world records broken. But the biggest thrill for me personally was watching the USA win a gold medal in my favorite sport.

I enjoyed being a part of the media for a few days, even if a lot of people might look down on bloggers. I enjoyed writing about the games and wish I could do more of it. Being at the game and getting a feeling for the action and writing about it is so much better than watching it on TV or reading box scores to write about a games. If I got paid for it, I think I would be in heaven.

I don’t know where I’ll be next year, but no matter where I’ll be I’ll be writing about baseball even if its only for my site.

I love this game!

You can see a short video I made of the championship game as the US won the gold medal on my YouTube page.

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I Found My #Calling in Korea – To Watch Baseball Around the World


I can remember going to old Arlington Stadium to watch the Texas Rangers play back in the 80s. They were terrible and it might have been the worst Major League Baseball stadium out there, but it was all I knew. I loved every minute of those games.

As the years went by and I got older, I was able to see games in other stadiums around the country. I grew up on the game, and can’t get enough of it. In fact, it is just after 10am on a Monday morning in Korea, and I am watching a live baseball game from back home as I type this.

I love going to games, especially if it’s my first time at a stadium. I love hearing the roar of the crowd and smelling the fresh-cut grass. To me there is nothing better than walking up through the concourse and seeing the green grass on the field for the first time.

Fast forward to 2010, and I am living in Korea about to experience my first baseball game on foreign soil. It was an experience I would never forget. At a baseball stadium in Daegu, South Korea, I can still remember walking up the stairs, through the concourse, and out into the open air again seeing the green field below with the boys of summer playing catch.

I think I found my Calling.

I learned from the fans in Korea. I learned to love the game again in a new way. I was able to watch the game with a bit more passion for the simplicity of the game without all the negative aspects that are sometimes seen in the States. I have been able to meet some great people through the game here in Korea, and I hope to meet even more.

I found my Calling; to travel and experience baseball in other countries.

I’ve spent over two years here in Korea and have been to many baseball games. Each time I am there, I see something new and exciting. You can’t help but feel the excitement in the air with how passionate the fans are. I’ve never enjoyed a game so much than sitting with the cheering Korean fans. It’s simply great how they love the game the way it should be loved.

I have been fortunate to travel to each baseball stadium in the Korean equivalent of the MLB. In just over 8 months, I hope to keep that spirit alive as I travel around the world taking in baseball in as many places as I can. I want to rekindle my love again and again with the game that brought me so much pleasure over the years.

Samsung Lions Mascot - Daegu, South Korea

Samsung Lions Mascot - Daegu, South Korea

 

What is your Calling?

 

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I Plan to Watch 100+ Baseball Games this Year


One of my goals this year is to watch more baseball. I got away from watching last year and only saw a handful of games, and to tell you the truth I missed it.

I have it made here in Korea where I can watch games in the morning before going to work. A typical Braves game comes on at 8am here and a Rangers game usually 9am. This is perfect timing since I don’t go to work until 1:30. The problem for me has always been simply getting up in the morning since I used to stay up very late, think 3am or later.

I’ve changed this year though. I am up earlier to watch games and blog (you can read my Braves only blog at Braves Baseball World), and it has been a lot of fun.

My goal is to watch 100+ games this year. That includes all the game I hope to go to live as well as just a lot of games on TV. I’ll miss most of the games in August when we work in the mornings, but until then and after I plan on watching a lot of baseball.

Plus I have plans to hit up every ballpark again in Korea. This time I’ll be bringing my video camera. I hope to see some of the minor league games here too. They call it the Future League or Second Division. Not to mention some games my friends play in in an adult league, and hopefully some college and high school games.

I’ve watched every Braves game so far this year, as well as Yu Darvish’s first start. I plan to watch a lot of him as well. He’s the most exciting thing to come through Arlington in a long time. I’ll watch more Braves games than anything, but when the Rangers and Angels play, I’ll be watching. That match up is getting heated and I can’t wait for them to square off.

It’s just going to be a huge year for me and baseball. I plan to write a lot, film a lot, and take a ton of pictures. I fell happiest when I am working on anything baseball related. I’ve even tossed around the idea of writing a book, but I haven’t put my finger on the right topic just yet.

So I am about 5 games into my goal of 100. It’s gonna be a fun ride.

I wonder what the record for most games watched in a season is, at least as far as live games goes. I saw the other day where someone set a record by seeing all 30 MLB stadiums in something like 20 days. That’s impressive. I wonder just how many MLB and MiLB games one could take in in a season. That could be a fun challenge.

What do you think?

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Baseball Weekend in Seoul


Friday night I headed up to Seoul for a baseball filled Saturday. I had met my friend Kihoon Jung via Twitter and Facebook about a year ago, but I never had the opportunity to meet him in person until this weekend. The plan was to see Kihoon play in 2 games with 2 different teams early in the morning. Then the two of us were going to head to Jamsil Baseball Stadium to see the Doosan Bears and Lotte Giants play.

Early Saturday morning we headed out to Kihoon’s first baseball game of the day. We left before 6am since the game started at 6:30. It had rained a bit the night before, but the rain had left by morning. It remained cool and cloudy, but turned out to be a good day for a game. It wasn’t that great for taking photos though with the low light. I had brought my camera to take some action photos of the guys playing.

Game 1 was a lot of fun. Kihoon was playing with his company team from Doosan, the Doozins. They had a pretty good team and were definitely better than their opposition from a bank. Soon it was evident that the game would not be close. I loved watching these guys play. You could see the love they had for the game, and everyone was very friendly to me as I took photos. Despite the low light, and my camera doesn’t do great with low light action shots, I felt I got a few good shots. Here are some photos of the guys playing hard and having fun.

Doozins Baseball

Kihoon Jung at bat for the Doozins

#22 "The Rocket" on the hill for the Doozins

Hitting the ball hard

The Doozins Baseball Team

Thanks to all the guys for making me feel right at home. Good luck the rest of the season.

Kihoon’s 2nd game got canceled. Too much rain fell the night before and the grounds were too wet to play. So we came up with alternative plans. After returning home, we went to a nearby middle school and played catch in the school yard. That was a lot of fun for me. I don’t get the chance to play catch often, so anytime I do get that chance I have to take it. Surprisingly my arm felt okay after throwing, and it felt good the next day as well.

We then decided to get cleaned up and head into town before the Doosan/Lotte game that night. We ventured around town a bit and I got to see some parts of Seoul that I hadn’t seen before which was nice. While walking around, Kihoon led us to some batting cages and we decided to take some swings. It was great. I love the batting cages here. They generally throw around 60-65 mph with the faster cages getting up to about 80 mph. I didn’t do too bad, but it was nice to get my first swings of the year. I have some cages nearby, but I have yet to venture over to them yet this year. I have to get over there soon and get in some more swings.

After a trip around town, we headed over to Jamsil Baseball Stadium for the Doosan Bears game against the Lotte Giants. Kihoon is originally from Busan, so he is a huge Giants fan. I had seen the Giants play in Busan last year, but I had never seen Doosan play before (they share Jamsil with the LG Twins). The two teams fans are some of the crazier and with a sold out game, it was going to be a great time. And it was.

The game turned out to be one of the best I have ever seen. Doosan jumped out early, but Lotte’s big bats soon bounced back to take a 6-3 lead. They pounded new Doosan starter Fernando Nieve in his first KBO start and ended his night early.  It was a back and forth game and got rough at the end cheering for the Giants. The Giants defense let them down late in the game. The shortstop made an error that led to an unearned run. Then up 1 late in the game, the Giants center fielders dove for a ball and just missed it. When the left fielder slipped backing up the play, the lead off batter wound up at 3rd with a triple. He soon scored to tie the game, and Doosan would eventually take a 7-6 lead into the 9th inning.

This is when it got interesting. The Bears didn’t immediately bring in their closer, and the Giants lead off hitter singled up the middle. Doosan then decided to bring in the closer to face the reigning triple crown winner Lee Dae-ho. Dae-ho is a beast. He had been beaned earlier in the game after driving one deep over the fence but foul. This at bat he kept it fair. He lined a home run over the left field fence for a 8-7 Giants lead in the top of the 9th. The crowd, half of who were Giants fans, went nuts. It was great. Why they decided to pitch to the biggest threat in the KBO I’ll never know, but I am glad they did.

The game was a thrilling one as the Giants came back and won the game, and I had an amazing time. I can’t wait to get back and see more baseball in Seoul, and I am really looking forward to getting back down to Busan to see more Giants games. They really do have the craziest fans, and I love it.

View from our seats in center field

The Giants version of a rally hat for fans?

Final Linescore

 

 

I had an amazing time in Seoul. Thanks to Kihoon for inviting me up to see some baseball.

 

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40 by 40 Baseball Edition


A little over 2 years ago, wow how time flies, I came out with a 40 by 40 list. Of that list of 40 things I wanted to do by the age of 40 (yes I am getting old), 10 of them had to do with baseball. After 2 years I have only accomplished 1 of the 40 – #10. Volunteer at an orphanage.

My 10 items that dealt with baseball were:

1. See a World Baseball Classic game
2. See a World Series game
3. See 10 new MLB stadiums
4. Play a baseball game in a foreign country
5. See a baseball game in 5 foreign countries
6. Go to the European Baseball Championships
7. Throw out the 1st pitch at a baseball game
8. Go to the College World Series
9. Coach a baseball team in a foreign country for a game
10. Go to MLB spring training

I have decided to expand my list of 10 to 40 in anticipation of another year abroad as I dream of more and more travel. So here it goes. My expanded 40 by 40 Baseball Edition.

1. See a World Baseball Classic game
2. See a World Series game
3. See 10 new MLB stadiums
4. Play a baseball game in a foreign country
5. See a baseball game in 5 foreign countries (4 to go)
6. Go to the European Baseball Championships
7. Throw out the 1st pitch at a baseball game
8. Go to the College World Series
9. Coach a baseball team in a foreign country for a game
10. Go to MLB spring training
11. Visit the Baseball Hall of Fame
12. Watch a Braves/Mets game (my favorite and least favorite team)
13. Go to the Junior Worlds in Seoul in 2012
14. Watch a UT/Texas A&M game
15. See a high school state championship game
16. Watch a game at Rickwood Field
17. Watch a Cubs/Cardinals game
18. Visit the Korean Baseball Hall of Fame
19. Attend a minor league all-star game
20. See a game at the new stadium in Pensacola, FL
21. Watch a Cape Cod game
22. Visit the Baseball Hall of Fame in Japan
23. Watch the midnight sun game in Alaska
24. Visit the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum
25. Visit the Field of Dreams movie site
26. Visit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
27. Host a baseball podcast
28. Read the book Veeck as in Wreck
29. Read the book The Glory of Their Times
30. Attend the Little League World Series
31. Read the book The American Dream: From Perth to Sacramento
32. Attend the Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture
33. Visit the Ty Cobb Museum
34. Attend a Korean Series Game
35. Attend the Caribbean Series
36. Read the book The Catcher Was a Spy
37. Read the book Eight Men Out
38. See the Dodgers play the Giants
39. See the Red Sox play the Yankees
40. Watch an Arizona Fall League game

I don’t know how many of these I can accomplish in the next 5 1/2 years (wow I’ll be at 40 soon), but I am going to try to do as many as I can. I feel in the next year I can check off maybe 10. No matter how many I am able to do, it will be fun trying. What are the top things you want to see/do baseball wise? Leave a comment and let me know. I’d love to hear your ideas.

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Interview: Passionate Baseball Fan from Korea – Kihoon Jung


The one thing I have learned watching baseball in Korea is the fans are passionate. It is a great thing to watch, especially coming from a place where most fans are fair weather fans only coming out when the team is winning. Thanks to things like Facebook and Twitter, I have been able to meet more and more baseball fans including some in Korea. So when I had the chance to sit down and ask some questions to a new friend of mine in Korea, I jumped at the chance. I really want to thank Kihoon for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions so we can better understand the baseball culture in Korea.

About Me.
My name is Kihoon and 29 years old. I am from Pusan and now working at Doosan magazine Digital Innovation team. I am sport mania. Baseball & Basketball are my all time favorites. I used to be a Intern basketball journalist during undergraduate years.

How long have you followed baseball in Korea?
Since Forever. I was born in Pusan, Mecca of baseball in Korea, in 1981 and Korean Professional league was launched the next year. My father used to play baseball at his company and loved to take me Giants games when I was young. I grew up playing and watching baseball games since I was a child. It has been over 20 years now. All of these led me be a huge fan of baseball.

What is your favorite team? Why?
Since I was born in Pusan, I was born to be a fan of my home town team Lotte Giants. It is a Korea professional team in Pusan, Korea and one of the most beloved teams in Korea as well. I used to be a Giants youth club member and have supported them for a long time. Trading is not common yet in Korean League and Many pro players are playing for their region team. It means that many of Giants players are from Pusan and that make fans give them more emotion. They are more like our friends and neighbors. Other teams are the same. I believe basically it stems from unique *KBO Draft system which changed since 2009 and Korean culture. Along with Samsung Lions in Daegu, Lotte Giants is one of only 2 teams that never changed their team name since Korean pro-league established. They won the championship 2 times in club history, 1984 and 1992. After a long Dark ages in early 2000, they are becoming champion-caliber team again by making 3 consecutive play-off appearance.(2008~2010). In addition to this, I am looking for my favorite MLB team. I have thought of Cubs, Red sox, Rangers, Indians. I heard that Cubs and Red sox are really popular team in US and known for devoted fans and tradition. I personally like the State of Texas.

Last year I supported Indians cause Shin-soo Choo is playing for them. These teams are in my boundary.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6djJhOOwTVA&feature=related (1992 Korean Series)

*KBO draft

With 1st pick, all teams have priority over their region until 2008 regardless of their rank in previous season. This system encouraged teams to support school teams in their region. But many experts pointed out that this system was advantageous to Kwangju, Seoul, Pusan teams since they have more top tier teams in their farm. Thus, Draft system has been changed from 2009. It is now overall draft like US. Draft system is still controversial issue.

What is your greatest memory of baseball?
If I have to pick a single game in particular, That would be 1999 KBO Play-off series game 7 between Lions and Giants. Giants dramatically got over 1-3 series to 3-3. The Game 7 was really close and heated until until the end of it. Giants broke the tie and won 6-5 in the 11th inning.  The game still remain as one of the most incredible match in Korean play-off history.

I uploaded a highlight clip here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JG3FZ0WTdXw

Every single game between huge east rivalry Korea and Japan is always fun to watch. 2009 WBC final, Semi final in 2008 Olympic, 2005 WBC tournament.

What team would you say has the most passionate fans in Korea?
The Giants have the most passionate fans in Korea. In fact, they are a little bit crazy sometimes. The Giants have the attendance record for a single season (1.38 million) in KBO and they gathered more than 1 million attendances 3 years in a row from 2008. For your information, the total attendance number of KBO in 2010 was 5.92million. Giants fan have lots of unique and dynamic cheering repertories and they are overwhelming than other team`s Among them, two songs, “Pusan Sea gull” , “Please come back to Pusan port” are famous and wearing orange plastic bag, shaking newspaper are also unique stuff. There ia a documentary movie about Lotte Giants (2009) named “I am a sea gull” I will send you if you want. Besides Giants, Kia tigers also have very enthusiastic fans. The 2 big market teams in Seoul, LG twins and Doosan Bears are popular team too.

Lotte

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3q9F3A2bTc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9321dLW69Y&feature=fvw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vscBjrpXhM&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pj9NVo-4iKc&feature=fvw

Do you follow baseball in Japan or the USA?
I think I am pretty much involved in MLB baseball. Since Chan-ho Park became the first Korean major league player, I have watched MLB games in Korea sometimes. Every one of Chan-ho`s games were available and also I was able to see Mariners games through NHK. I really like some dynamic Latin keystone players like Furcal, Reyes, Cora. They please my eyes. I check news articles and highlight clip on MLB web site on a daily base now. It is one of ways to study English for me. I enjoyed watching the World Series this season, too. Compared to USA, I have not experienced much about Japanese baseball. I only check Korean player`s news. There are 4 Korean players in NPB now. I have a good personal impression on Japanese baseball, though. I have traveled in Japan a few years ago and pleasantly surprised about their baseball facilities. Lots of baseball fields were readily available. I could easily see many people playing baseball. When I visited Osaka, neon signs of Hanshin tigers, one of the most popular Japanese Professional team were everywhere. I heard that Hanshin is also known as crazy fans. Their traditional home stadium is very famous. I hope to venture out there!

How do you feel the baseball in Korea compares to Japan or the USA?
Regarding Pro-league game, Korea baseball game is more intense than US from my perspective. It is probably because only 8 teams are competing and they know each other well. They tend to use detailed tactics based on detailed analysis data. Lots of substitutions as well. Trade is not that common in Korea. It is becoming more frequent but not as much as US yet. Given the fact that Trade is not that common and only 8 teams are in the league, it would be relatively easy to analyze other teams and use them in games.  On the other hand, US players play based on their superb athleticism and very aggressively. There are a lot of back and forth between Major league and Triple A. It makes it hard to analyze other teams, I think. It seems like they tend to cover their weak positions by trading rather than developing their farm youth players. I think Korea and Us have different view on their rookie level players. Korean team think  “I bought my boy. I will teach and develop you to explode your potential. Pay me back later” US team think “I paid for you. Now you have to show me”  US has deep resource pool thus they don`t need to wait and be patient. Since late 1990` some potential Korean player challenged to Major league but nearly all of them were failed. They had to manage everything by themselves and didn`t have many opportunities. If they had been more cared for or coached, some of them might have been successful. Japanese baseball is similar with Korean style. Their analysis tool is  much more sophisticated. Aside from Pro-league, US and Japan has more deep and extended baseball base than Korea. For example, Korea has only 60 or even less high school teams while Japan has nearly 4,000. US is needless to say.

What about the fans, how do they compare?
It seems to me that US people just enjoy game individually and more stay focus on the field. Maybe they respect other`s privacy and try not to disturb others. I think there may be more family unit fans and season members. Still, they are enthusiastic. They are more straight forward and even shout jeers at their players sometimes. That surprised me. On the other hand, Korean fans really like cheering together. Every team in Korea has cheer leader and they lead. If you want to just watch baseball game, it might be distracting sometimes but cheering is fascinating stuff that bring you to the stadium. I saw some people who barely know about baseball go to baseball game just for cheering and enjoying the atmosphere Its like NCAA basketball game. You stand up and shout, sing, dance, jeering whole throughout a game. Some people say that it is a party. One noticeable recent issue is that many young female fans are increasing. Japan is like to be about between them. They have both. As far as I know, If you want to be part of group cheering, you can go to outfield area. If you want to stay focus on game, you can do that in infield area. Whenever I watch Japanese baseball game, there were many old people and individual fans in infield seat and Group cheering was in outfield area.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6REyXnCGdJA Hanshin tigers cheering

I know you play on a team in Seoul.  How long have you played?
I play for 2 teams now. I moved up to Seoul for my job in 2008 and I started to play at my company team, Doozins. Some Staffs who love baseball gathered team members and established a team in 2007. Our Senior executives are really supportive. We play at single A level league near Seoul and reached the play-offs this season. It was the first time! I also found another team ‘Khazon’ (Hope in Hebrew) near my neighborhood and have played with them for 1 year now. We have a team practice every Saturday preparing for League in next season. Obviously we have improved a lot and now are about the Double A level in Korea Social league. we are becoming well-organized team and I love to see the proceeding.

What are your thoughts on playing with foreigners?
Actually, a few weeks ago, one foreigner guy from US expressed his interest in playing baseball in Korea and ask if there is a space for him. For me, it would be quite interesting having foreigners in my team. There may be some communication problem sometimes but it really doesn`t matter. You know, baseball is our language. No matter where they are from, they can be part of our team as long as they love baseball and sincerely participate in team activities. In the field, playing with foreigners would not make any huge difference. Beside, playing together, we can be also good friends and share some cultural background of Baseball sitting down over a bottle of beer. That’s something pretty cool I think.  I have a one female who is devoted fan of Braves. She did part-time work at Yankees farm before and told me many stories about her baseball experiences. She told me that Cheering culture is really impressive here and few teams have cheer leader in State. She also told me that she miss the big sound of Drum and Band in Turner field. I want to be there one day, too!!

Do you model your game after anyone?
Ichiro Suzuki of Seattle Mariners.  I think he is setting  such a good role model for non-power Asian players. He is like a Cartoon Character for me. He is really smart. I never have seen any bone head play from him. I believe it stems from good fundamentalism, his high level of intensity on a game and Professionalism.  We got some common things too. We are lead-off hitter, Left handed hitter, right handed pitcher, and skinny contact hitter. He is truly a multi-talented player. I mean he has everything. I have seen some people who underrate him by his look and nationality saying that he is selfish and a bad-ball hitter. However, I must say this, all the records he got so far simply demonstrates how great he is as a ball player. I wish we could have that kind of player in Korea, too.

How serious would you say people take baseball in Korea both playing and watching?
Among Pro sports, Baseball is the most popular sports in Korea. I think it is becoming national sports. Baseball is consistently loved regardless of social class and it is going to be the same way in the future. Especially, WBC boosted baseball in Korea again and people not only just watch baseball but also start to play. Many new social leagues have been established recently and it is close to impossible to secure baseball field for new teams. Joining league become really competitive. In my case, the entry fee was raised by nearly 30% this season but it was filled.

I want to thank Kihoon for taking time out of his busy schedule.  Not only did he come through with amazing information, but he did it in a 2nd language (quite well too). It’s fans like this that I want to meet across the world.  People who love the game, want to spread the greatness of the game, but also have a love and respect for the history of the game. Thanks again Kihoon, and I can’t wait till I get back to Korea so we can sit down and talk baseball face to face.

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Congratulations San Francisco Giants – World Series Champs!


It was a great year for me and baseball. I got to see a lot of baseball in Korea, the Braves made the playoffs in Bobby’s last year, and the Rangers finally won a postseason series making it to the World Series.  I can’t wait for next year already. I am anxious to see what happens in the off season.  Where will Cliff Lee and all the big name free agents wind up? I think some interesting things will happen.

With all of that said, Congratulations must go out to the Giants and their fans.  They have waited a long time for this, and they deserve it. They were the better team in each round and that is why they are taking home the trophy.

I think things are looking bright for the Braves and Rangers, and that is why I am very excited for next year. Once again I don’t think I will be in the States during the season, but I will watch a lot from here in Korea. I simply love this game and everything that goes along with it whether that is the wins or the bitter defeats.

With that said I will call it a day. I will be back to talk more about the Series and the year that has passed now. But I also want to look toward the future as any baseball fan does.

‘Till Then

TBJM

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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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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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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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