Tag Archive | "Travel"

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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5 Places to See That Are Not Stadiums


Baseball has been apart of my life for as long as I can remember. Driving up to Arlington to see the Rangers play as kids is one of my fondest memories. I have an ambitious goal of seeing baseball all around the world, but for me it all starts at home in the United States. Every one knows the famous stadiums to visit or the one down the street from home. But what about places to visit that aren’t stadiums? Here is my list of 5 must see places for any baseball fan that are not located at a stadium.
#1 Baseball Hall of Fame – Cooperstown, New York

This is the Holy Grail of baseball history. Here you will find all the games greats, and the history behind what made them great. Located in upstate New York, the Hall of Fame offers something for every baseball fan. See artifacts from all the great players, games, and events in baseball history. Adults can read one of 3 million books, take a look at 500,000 photographs, or view one of 38,000 artifacts from the game. Kids have their own section called the Sandlot Kids Clubhouse where they can enjoy various activities and exhibitions.

Baseball Hall of Fame

#2 Field of Dreams Set – Dyersville, Iowa

Not only is Field of Dreams one of the most popular baseball movies, but it helps capture the imaginations from young to old. The movie set sits in a field in Dyersville, Iowa where on a sunny afternoon you too can go out for a game of catch. After many years of uncertainty with the field, it is finally owned by one family. The movie company had built it on the land of two farms, but it has since been consolidated and is currently up for sale. The house and ball field used in the movie are still there.

Field of Dreams Movie Set

Photo Courtesy Cindy Chlapek Berg

#3 Louisville Slugger Museum – Louisville, Kentucky

I have had the pleasure of visiting this great institution (insert link) and I think people of all ages would really enjoy the trip here. Not only can you see the world’s biggest bat, but you can watch the process of a Louisville Slugger bat being made and then have your own name stamped on one. They also have a nice museum where you are able to see the evolution of the bat from the early 1900s till now. Oh and don’t forget to pick out a current stars model to practice with in the batting cages before you leave.

Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum

Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum

#4 Negro Leagues Baseball Museum – Kansas City, Missouri

See the history of one of the most overlooked and fascinating parts of baseball history.  See artifacts, photos, and multi-media displays on the history of the Negro Leagues.  Some of baseball’s most influential characters came out of the Negro Leagues, and there should be more to pay ommage to its history.  So stop by, listen to some stories of Josh Gibson, and take in the history.  You will not be disappointed.

Negro League Baseball Museum

Negro League Baseball Museum

#5 The Grave of George Herman “Babe” Ruth – Hawthorne, New York

Arguably the greatest player to ever play the game, Babe Ruth’s legacy has reached legendary status. Roughly 35 miles from NYC, Hawthorne is the final resting place for not only Babe Ruth but other celebrities as well.  Most baseball fans alive now never got to see Ruth play, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pay your respects.  However, do remember that this is an active cemetery and to be respectful of such.

There are a lot of other great sites.  These are just a few of the great baseball sites around the country.  Want to know more?  Check out a great book Roadside Baseball: The Locations of America’s Baseball Landmarks by Chris Epting.  The book will take you from state to state with historic places in the history of the game.  No matter where you are, there is something nearby that is worthy of a trip to see.

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Louisville Slugger Museum


Just over a year ago, my brother and I took a trip from Nashville up to Indianapolis to see a Jimmy Buffett concert.  We left out early on a Tuesday morning with the intention of stopping for lunch and a tour of the Louisville Slugger Museum, and I am glad we did.

I have always wanted to see the museum.  Growing up Louisville Slugger was the wooden bat.  There were no substitutes. It seemed like everyone in MLB was using Louisville Slugger, including my favorite player Dale Murphy. So finally getting the chance to see how the bats were made was a thrill.

The museum, and factory, are located in downtown Louisville.  You can’t miss the museum.  Just look for the 120 ft bat leaning up against the 5-story building.

Louisville Slugger Museum and its 120 ft bat

Once inside there is a lot to do and see.  The first thing you will come upon is the gift shop, but save this for last.  Go grab a ticket for the tour, and then head into the museum to wait your turn.

The tour was what made the trip for me.  It was really interesting to see how each bat is made.  They walk you through the process from taking a simple slab of wood to the final product ready for the players.  We were fortunate to have a good guide with us that day who made the tour that much more enjoyable.  You get to walk through as they are making bats.  Many of them will go out to minor league players, but one section of the factory is set to make bats for a professional player.  That day we got to see bats being made for Carl Crawford of the Tampa Bay Rays.

It was a lot of fun seeing the process first hand on how they shave down the bats further and further.  Then, depending on the type of bat needed, they run it through a machine that cuts it down to size.  Next they will sand the bat down and put on the finishing touches like the logo which is either a sticker, maple bats, or burned into the bats.  Unfortunately you can’t take photos of the factory, but its really worth while to see.

When you exit the tour they give you a souvenir bat and spit you out into the museum to look around.  The museum is fascinating as well.  Here you get to see old bats from the early 1900s to modern day.  The sizes, and shapes, have varied over the years.  They have showcases of countless models from countless superstars from over the many years that Louisville Slugger has been making bats.

Louisville Slugger Museum - Bats from Clemente, Musial, Ott, and Yaz

One of the coolest things to do in the museum is to handle one of the old bats from the players. These are bats that the players actually used in games.  I choose to pick up an old Mickey Mantle bat.  They had a few to choose from, but with Mickey being my Dad’s favorite player, it was an easy choice.  You have to put on gloves since all the hands handling the bats will ruin them over time.  I was surprised at how big the bat was, but it wasn’t near the biggest bat in the room.  Still an experience I won’t forget.

Louisville Slugger Museum

Louisville Slugger Museum

Before leaving there are still a few places to check out.  In the back of the museum, past a really cool statue of a glove and ball, is the batting cage.  You can pick out a bat from a current player, I choose Evan Longoria, and you can take some swings in the batting cages.  That was a lot of fun, and I highly recommend it to anyone.  Swinging a big wooden bat is so different than the aluminum ones that you grow up playing with as kids.

Glove and Ball Statue at Louisville Slugger Museum

Me at the Museum

Louisville Slugger Museum Batting Cages

Me Hitting with an Evan Longoria Bat in the Cages

Louisville Slugger Museum Batting Cages

My Brother Hitting in the Cages with a ARoid Bat Model

After you are finished taking your swings, its time to head on over to the gift shop.  Now is your chance to pick up a personalized bat or other souvenir.  I choose to pick up a t-shirt while my brother opted for a personalized bat for his son.

Overall, it was a great trip to a place I had always wanted to visit.  Anytime you are in the area, be sure to head on over and check out the Louisville Slugger Museum.  It is definitely worth the journey.  You won’t be disappointed even if you aren’t the biggest baseball fan.

Louisville Slugger Museum

Dale Murphy's Bat Signature - 1974 is for when he signed his bat deal.

Louisville Slugger Museum

Me in front of the entrance.

By the way, it rained on us at the Jimmy Buffett concert, but we had a blast.  It was actually pretty fun singing in the rain with thousands of other parrotheads.

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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

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International Baseball Travel


My goal is to see baseball all around the world.   I have started my journey here in the Land of the Morning Calm, South Korea, but many people are not aware of how widespread baseball has become.  The game that Abner Doubleday started, okay so maybe he didn’t, has spread across the globe.  My hope is to experience this great game in as many different places as I can.  So let’s take a look at exactly where I want to travel to see a few games.

Asia

South Korea – There are 8 teams and 7 stadiums in South Korea.  By the end of the year I plan to see each stadium at least once.

Japan – I am planning a 5 day trip to Japan in September.  I hope to take in 4 games at different stadiums in the Tokyo area.  Japan is very expensive so it will be difficult to see all 12 teams.

Taiwan – I am thinking of taking a trip to Taiwan in July.  The Chinese Professional Baseball League in Taiwan is a 4 team league that plays at various stadiums around the island.  I hope to take in 3-4 games while there in July.

China – There is a 7 team league in China.  There is a lot of room for baseball to grow here.  I hope to eventually get to China to see some baseball, but it might have to wait till next year.

Philippines – The Phils, as they are affectionately known here in SK by some of the foreigners, has a 6 team league.  It’s a small league with few games, but it is well worth visiting.

Australia

Australia is starting up a new league, with MLB backing, starting in November 2010.  The new league will have 6 teams.  I’d love to try and possibly check this league out after my contract is up in November.  The one problem is plane tickets are so expensive.

Europe

There are a lot of places that play baseball in Europe.  In most of the countries baseball is not huge, but it is starting to grow.  On the international scene nobody really makes a splash, although the Netherlands showed the world they cannot be taken for granted in the last World Baseball Classic.  So here is a list, and a long one, of places I want to go to see some baseball.

(in no particular order)

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • France
  • Germany
  • England
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Ukraine
  • Ireland

The Americas

There is a lot of great baseball in this area.  Of course I want to see every MLB stadium and as many minor league stadiums as I can in the USA, I think there are some hidden gems in other parts.  So here is a list of places I want to visit merely for the baseball.  The great part of this area is all the winter leagues.  While most of the world is taking a break from baseball, Central and South America is just getting warmed up.  I hope to one day see all of the winter leagues available.

  • Mexico
  • Canada
  • Cuba
  • Dominican Republic
  • Puerto Rico
  • Panama
  • Venezuela
  • Columbia
  • Nicaragua
  • Costa Rica

There are other places to see games as well.  Even if I only get to see little league games, I want to experience a game in as many places as I can.  Baseball is the one true passion I have.  It’s an amazing sport that can bring together people of different backgrounds and cultures.  As I begin my journey here this year, I hope you will join me.

Have you seen games in any of these countries?  I would be interested in hearing your stories.  If you have, drop me a line and let me know.  I am always interested in hearing feedback, questions, or comments about anything on my site.

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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)

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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

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