LG Twins v Samsung Lions, Friday 29th July 2011, 6.30pm

I don’t feel as if I’ve seen anything like as much baseball this season compared to last year, mainly because of the weather. We had intended to go along to Jamsil three days earlier but the worst rain in Seoul for years started falling an hour or two before the start and that was that.

We’d even got tickets in advance for a change as Jen had worked out how to buy them from the cash machine at the local GS25 convenience store. It seems a little insensitive though to complain about not being able to watch a baseball game when dozens of people died in the floods. So I won’t.

Luckily, we live at the top of a hill.

By Friday afternoon the rain had stopped and so we caught the subway at Yeoksam for the three stop journey to Sports Complex. It was rush-hour so the carriages were packed and we had to fight our way on and off. At the stadium we skipped the queue and picked up three tickets from a tout for the main stand at ten thousand won a go. That’s a thousand won over face value, but it saved us a few minutes waiting at the ticket office.

We’d missed the first half an hour or so and with two innings completed  the game was still scoreless. Radhames Liz, the Dominican who had started over twenty times for the Baltimore Orioles earlier in his career, was pitching for LG. He looked very good early on but faded a bit towards the end. He conceded two runs in the fifth and another in each of the sixth and seventh innings before getting the hook before the start of the eighth.

Radhames Liz - LG Twins

Cha Woo Chan was the starting pitcher for Samsung Lions, who have been making one or two changes lately, notably with their foreign players. First baseman Ryan Garko was sent back to America after scoring just a single home run all season and their Japanese pitcher Ken Kadokura has apparently been dropped to their minor league team. I’d actually no idea that there was a minor league in Korea, I’ve not seen anything between the top level KBO games and the blokes who play with their mates down by the river. Perhaps I’ll bump into Kenny Kadokura next time I go for a stroll alongside the Han.

Cha Woo Chan had a fairly ropey start with the ball and it looked at one point like he might get withdrawn as early as the third innings as he gave up a few hits.

Cha Woo Chan - Samsung Lions

It got even worse for him in the fourth when Park Yong Taik and Cho In Sung  smacked home runs off successive balls.

Cho In Sung - LG Twins

Cha picked up a bit after that though and didn’t concede another run for the rest of the evening, finally stepping aside in the eighth with his team 4-2 ahead. Both sets of relief pitchers did their jobs and there were no more runs.

My son Tom, who was watching his first ever game of baseball, was impressed with the whole experience. The crowd was far more enthusiastic than at any of the football games he had been to over here and he liked the way that the gaps in play were filled by cheerleaders or competitions where girls competed for a prize of a few cases of beer by seeing which of them could down a pitcher of the stuff the quickest.

It's almost as good as half time penalties.

We had a few beers ourselves afterwards in a bar called Beer Mart. The quirk being that you just select your own bottles of beer from the glass fronted fridges and then when it’s time to go, collect up the empties from your table in a shopping basket and take them to the till to pay. I know that sounds like we spent that part of the evening drinking in the beer section of Tesco, but it was a bar, honest.

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