Tag Archive | "Stadiums"

Journey to Seoul


This last weekend I made the train ride up to Seoul to check out some of the baseball action up north.  There are 3 stadiums in the Seoul area, 2 in Seoul and 1 in Incheon.  The plan was to head up Friday and come back late Sunday night while taking in 1 new stadium a night.  My first stop was Mokdong Baseball Stadium in western Seoul.

Mokdong Stadium is home to the NEXEN Heroes.  The Heroes have a strong tradition in the KBO winning the championship 4 times (2nd only to Kia’s 10 titles).  However, this year NEXEN is mired at the bottom of the standings.  On Friday night, NEXEN happened to be playing the Kia Tigers, who again are near the top of the standings.

The game was a very good one.  Both starters had strong performances but came away with no decisions.  The game was tied after 9, and I thought I might see my first ever tie baseball game.  The rules here are a little different than back home.  If the game is tied after 12 innings, the game ends in a tie.  I understand why they have the rule, but I am not a big fan of it.  However, I am one of the fans who not only roots for free baseball (what I call extra innings), but I am one that wants to be at the park to witness the 18 or 20 inning game.

I would not see my first tie game, but I would see another first.  In the top of the 10th Kia would score to go ahead, but NEXEN would not quit.  They tied the game in the bottom half of the inning.  So onto the 11th we would go.  With a quiet half of the inning from Kia, NEXEN came to bat with a chance to win it, and this is where it got interesting.

With 2 outs in the inning and runners on first and second, reliever Lee Dong-hyeon would unleash a wild pitch to put runners at 2nd and 3rd.  But he wasn’t finished.  After walking the batter to load the bases, Lee Dong-hyeon then unleashed a 2nd wild pitch allowing the runner from 3rd to score the winning run.  This was my first walk-off wild pitch at a professional game.  After seeing the replays on TV a few nights later, the catcher didn’t do him any favors.  He simply tried to backhand both pitches, and they both got by him.  Anyway the damage was done and NEXEN walked away with the win.

A few notes about the game and the stadium:

  • The Kia Tigers fans traveled well.  There were a lot of them, they actually outnumbered the Heroes fans, and they were very loud.  Any hit or out was cheered in unison which was very impressive.
  • I arrived early to see batting practice, and as I stood down the left field line I almost got hit by a ball.  It was drizzling so I had my umbrella out when one of the Tigers players hits a screaming line drive home run down the line right at me.  My first instinct was to try and catch it.  Then I realized I was holding my umbrella so I thought of trying to catch it with the umbrella.  I quickly realized this was not a smart thing to do so at the last second I simply moved out of the way.  The ball landed behind me where I picked it up and gave it to one of the two young boys who came running up after it.
  • In the top of the 5th with the score tied 1-1, Kia attempted to run the squeeze play with runners at 1st and 3rd.  They just happened to run it horribly.    A new left handed pitcher had just been brought in, and the first thing he does is throw over to 1st base two straight times.  Both times the Tigers gave away they were running the squeeze.  So what does NEXEN do, pitch out and catch the squeeze play still on.  I thought it was painfully obvious what they wanted to do, and apparently so did the NEXEN manager.

All in all it was a fun night.  The crowd was into the game, and there was enough action to keep it interesting.  I can’t wait to get back and see another game there.

Next time I’ll be talking about my trip to Jamsil Stadium in Seoul, home of the LG Twins and Doosan Bears (yes they share the stadium).  ‘Till then, here are a few pictures from Mokdong Stadium.

Posted in KBOComments (0)

Seoul Searching


This weekend should be an exciting one for me.  I am leaving Colorful Daegu and heading north to Seoul for some weekend baseball action.  There are 3 stadiums in the Seoul area with 2 in Seoul and 1 in neighboring Incheon.

After a train ride north to Seoul, I’ll be heading to Mokdong Stadium to see the visiting Kia Tigers take on the NEXEN Heroes.  This is the smallest stadium of the 3 and that is the reason I wil

l hit it up on Friday.  I hope the weather holds out for the game.  Right now they are calling for rain most of Friday.

Saturday the weather should clear up.  The temps will still hover around 60 degrees which will make for a nice cool evening to see a game.  I’ll be heading to Incheon on Saturday to see Munhak Stadium, home of the SK Wyverns.  SK will be taking on the Lotte Giants.  Right now SK is atop the league with a 15-5 mark.

Sunday will wrap up at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul with a contest between the visiting Hanwha Eagles against the LG Twins.

During the day I will be checking out some of the sites in Seoul that interest me, but the main part of the trip is to check out the stadiums.  I plan to see all 7 in the league, and this trip will put me at 4 if I am able to see all 3.  It should be a good weekend and I will report back here early next week with all the details.

Until then, I hope you get in some baseball as well and have a great weekend.

TBJM

Posted in KBOComments (0)

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 StadiumsComments (0)

Do You Remember Your First Baseball Game?


I recently found out that a fellow English teacher here in South Korea had never been to a baseball game.  So I did what any baseball fan would do.  I drug him down to a game.  Thomas is from Scotland so he has never had a lot of exposure to the game.  After the game he was then kind enough to answer some questions for me regarding his experience.  So I will let Thomas take it from here.

1. What was your initial reaction when you arrived at the park and saw all the fans?

I was expecting there to be a lot of people at the park, and there were. What I wasn’t expecting was the atmosphere. The mood of the people there was so happy and carefree, like all inhibitions had been lifted and they could all be kids again. It’s something I’ve never really experienced in Korea before.

2. What did you think of the pace of the game?

Honestly, I thought the game was very slow. Having never been to a baseball game before, I don’t know if the pace was normal or slower than usual, but it seemed that there was a lot of milling around and wasted time between turns.

3. Was it an easy game to follow?

For the most part, yes. It took me a little while (and some explaining from yourself) for me to figure out the scoring system and how to read the scoreboard, but the actual play on the field was very easy to follow after that.

4. Korean fans are some of the more passionate, did you feel this was the case? (I should have specified passionate for baseball fans)

Having never been to another baseball game, I don’t can’t compare them to other baseball fans. However, I can say that the fans, compared to UK soccer and rugby fans (which is where my only other sport crowd experience lies) were very sedate, quiet and peaceful.

5. What did you think of the atmosphere inside the stadium?

The atmosphere inside the stadium was relaxed, fun and friendly. I thought it was awesome that there were kids playing ball all around the stadium, people of all ages chilling out on the seats, chanting and cheering. I liked that there fathers and sons together at the ga me, something that’s seen so rarely in this country.

6. What did you think of the ballpark?  (seats, food, etc..)

On this point, I was not happy. The stadium was small, the fans many and the seats few. There were hardly any facilities inside the stadium itself. I was expecting guys walking round with hot dogs and snacks, drinks all round and seats. Honestly, the reason I left the game early was that I was hungry and my legs were hurting. If I’d had a chair and some snacks, the experience would have been greatly enriched.

7. Would you like to see any changes to the game?

As a newcomer to baseball, I don’t really feel I have the right to suggest changes, but I do think it would be a little better with less time wasted between turns and innings.

8. would you return for another game?

Yes, most definitely.

9. Any additional thoughts/concerns?

I think it would be a good idea, if I go again, to bring some snacks and maybe a folding chair (like a little fishing stool), so I don’t have to stand. Alternatively, getting there early enough to grab a couple of seats would be a good idea.

I’d like to thank Thomas for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer my questions.  I would also like to point out he was gracious enough to trade his brand new Samsung Lions hat he bought before the game, to a young boy.  In return Thomas got a hat made out o f paper.  It absolutely made that young boys day.

Do you remember your first baseball game?  If you do, I’d like to hear about what you thought.

Posted in Interviews, KBOComments (2)

Welcome to Baseball Journeyman


I have been a baseball fan ever since I can remember.  I have followed baseball closely since the first World Series I can remember, 1985 Cards v Royals.  I can still see Dirk Denkinger missing the call in the 9th.  This begs the question too, will the Royals ever make it back to prominence? 

I live for baseball season.  There is something about spring and the smells of a game.  I always think back to Ray Liotta playing Shoeless Joe Jackson when he says, “Man, I did love this game. I’d have played for food money. It was the game… The sounds, the smells. Did you ever hold a ball or a glove to your face?”  I was never paid to play, but I have paid to play.  This game holds a special place in my heart, and I live and die with each season.

There are a lot of things I want to see in life, and many of them deal with baseball.  I hope to see as many stadiums as I can starting with each of the 7 stadiums in the Korean Baseball Organization.  This site will be about my baseball travels around the world and I hope to bring you some great stories along the way.

Opening day is not far off and I can’t wait.  See you then.

TBJM

Posted in VideosComments (0)

New Era (eFashion Solutions)

Quote of the Month

There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit. ~Al Gallagher, 1971

Polls

Who Will Win the 2014 World Series?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...