Kia Tigers v Hanwha Eagles, Sunday May 22nd 2011, 5pm

After the match between Asan Citizen and Seoul Martyrs I caught the slow train to Gunsan. It wasn’t quite as slow as the subway journey that I’d taken earlier in the day but I still spent over two hours looking out of the window at rice fields whilst the train stopped at every one-ox village on the way.

Jen had been to a baby shower in Seoul that afternoon, astonishingly preferring it to watching a third division game in the rain. She set off to Gunsan once it was finished though and I met her at the bus terminal. We asked a taxi driver to just take us to where it was busy and he dropped us off at an area not too far from the coast and with a few bars and restaurants. It was all still fairly quiet for a Saturday night though.

Next morning we went for a walk around Wolmyeong Park. There are a few miles of different trails, some of which will take you up to the tops of smallish hills, none of them bigger than about 150m.

Wolmyeong Park

There were plenty of large carp in the lake that we fed chocolate to and on the way up to one of the hilltops I had a go on some of the exercise equipment. It didn’t look as professionally made as the stuff I’ve seen elsewhere in Seoul, but looking on the positive side I doubt that it weighed as much.

It's heavier than it looks.

As it got towards mid-afternoon we got a taxi to Gunsan Baseball Stadium, thinking that it wouldn’t do any harm getting there early. If you are going to drink beer in the sunshine, there’s no reason why you can’t start before the match does. When we arrived, we were a little surprised to discover how crowded the area around the stadium was despite there still being two hours to the first pitch.

The teams had recently arrived and a lot of people were taking the opportunity to get their shirts signed.

He seems a popular lad.

Kia Tigers play most of their games further south in Gwangju, but stage nine matches in Gunsan over the season. It’s a smaller stadium and obviously a big deal to the locals when the baseball comes to town. Jen went to get the beers whilst I joined the queue at the ticket office. It took me half an hour to reach the front, where I was able to get 8,000 won tickets that allowed us to sit anywhere apart from a small covered section directly behind the plate.

Still two hours before the game started.

Despite the mayhem outside, it was still fairly quiet inside the stadium at half past three, although lots of the seats had already been reserved by people for their friends who were yet to arrive. A block of maybe twenty seats next to where we sat were marked as taken with tubes of Pringles or other snacks. By the time the game started there were very few empty seats and people were sitting in the aisles and standing at the back.

And not just people.

Kia seemed the team most likely to score although neither side broke their duck until the fifth innings. Hanwha starter Yang Hoon got the hook soon after conceding a couple of runs but unfortunately for the Eagles it quickly got worse with his replacement being hit for another four runs in the few minutes he was on the field.

Hanwha pitching to Kia, with the home fans in the background.

Yoon Seok Min fared better for the Tigers and by the time he was withdrawn in the sixth innings without having conceded a run the game was won.

Yoon Seok Min about to pitch for Kia Tigers.

We left not long after seven o’clock as we had a train to catch. The Tigers sent the locals home happy a little later with an eventual 13-1 victory. Next week we’ll be seeing Kia at their other ‘home’ stadium in Gwangju where they will be taking on Lotte Giants, the team whose fans blow up supermarket carrier bags and wear them as hats. Really.

13 Responses to “Kia Tigers v Hanwha Eagles, Sunday May 22nd 2011, 5pm”

  1. Jen Says:

    Come on, do your job:

  2. onthetrailofthelionking Says:

    Well done. I’m fairly sure that you can link to other stuff through the text of the post, but I’ve never got around to trying it out.

  3. Cogstar Says:

    hold up! ‘Jen went to a ‘baby shower”. And not a word of explanation. I’m guessing it’s not caring people catching babies falling from the sky, or even evil people watching them splat.

    but to chuck it in as if it’s just ok. give your head a shake

    • onthetrailofthelionking Says:

      Sorry, I should have explained. It’s a Korean tradition. When the parents bring a new-born baby home from the hospital they aren’t supposed to wash it for a month or something. When the time is up they have a bit of a celebration to mark the kid’s first shower. The women have to drink seaweed soup I think whilst the men have a few shots of soju. I thought going to the match was the better option, despite the soju. Or maybe because of the soju.

      • Jen Says:

        That may be the wrongest, most mangledest explanation of anything ever. Yes, wrongest and mangledest are words. To the extent that your definition of baby shower is accurate, anyway.

  4. Martyrs Forever Says:

    Have you been attending the Bears without blogging? They can’t win and I can think of no other reason other than your bad juju.

  5. onthetrailofthelionking Says:

    So, the baby shower description wasn’t 100% accurate then? I wasn’t totally sure about the seaweed soup, whether the women drank it or bathed the baby in it, but I thought I’d get away with it. Either way I think going to the match was probably the better option.

  6. Cogstar Says:

    I’m none the wiser………something about stirring babies in a soup pot is going on in my head

    • Jen Says:

      I can’t believe English women haven’t found out about baby showers! Basically, it’s a birthday party for the unborn child. Just like a wedding shower, there is a registry for gifts the couple wants, and you go and play stupid games and ooh and aah over gifts like breast pumps and diaper genies. HOURS of fun. Or at least, hours of one’s life which can never be regained.

      The game *would* have been more fun, but one must occasionally fulfill social obligations.

  7. onthetrailofthelionking Says:

    It’s something like that, probably a bit like when babies get dipped in the font at a christening. It’s a bit of discomfort but no lasting damage.

  8. Jen Says:

    For the sake of cultural accuracy, the seaweed soup is for postpartum mothers, as is the bath-free month. I’ve heard childbirth can be somewhat taxing and otherwise unpleasant, so both seem harsh, but it would be un-PC of me to judge.

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