I’d watched Samsung Lions a couple of days earlier in their home game with Nexen. Their next fixture was at Jamsil against Doosan Bears and as it was a warm evening, one of the first of the year, I thought I’d go along after work and watch.
My initial plan had been to walk, but I got a bit impatient and hopped onto the subway at Seolleung for a two stop journey that saved me twenty minutes or so. The way the game panned out it proved to be a lucky decision. The area around the stadium was fairly busy and there was a sizeable queue at the ticket office.
As I stood in line I was approached by one of the granny touts. She had a nine thousand won ticket that due to her holding up three fingers I thought she must have been asking thirty thousand for. I offered her a ten thousand won note, which she took and then gave me five thousand won change. I’ve no real idea how that worked but can only assume that she had originally been asking for three thousand won and had then decided that I could afford five thousand instead. Still, we both did ok out of it.
My ticket was for a reserved seat in the main stand. I’m just as happy sitting in the outfield though and as the entrance was right next to the ticket office I went there instead. I had to persuade the girl on the gate to let me in, but as I had a higher priced ticket and there were likely to be lots of empty seats, that wasn’t too difficult.
I’d missed the opening twenty minutes, but it was still 0-0 with Doosan batting in their first innings. I’d been right about there being plenty of empty seats. The outfield was sparsely populated and I could have had my pick of where to sit in most parts of the main stand.
Jang Won Sam was the starting pitcher for Samsung. He has an unusual action where he faces away from the batter as he starts his throw. I’m sure that most of the coaches that he will have worked with over the years will have wanted to pick him up and re-position him in the opposite direction. I was in Japan a couple of years ago and kept seeing people reading on the subway. Over there, writing is done in vertical lines rather than horizontally and it took all of my willpower not to reach out and rotate whatever they were reading ninety degrees for them.
Maybe Jang Won Sam will start facing the right direction when pitching in future because he got a real pasting in this game. Firstly Kim Dong Joo got a hit that allowed a team mate to get home from second. Then Choi Joon Seok cracked a home run for three to make it four-nil. One of the younger Doosan players, Jung Soo Bin, got in on the act next hitting to second with the bases loaded to get two more home. Six-nil to Doosan. There was more to come though and Son Si Hyun hit a ball deep into the outfield for another two runs.
The first Doosan innings finally finished at twenty past seven with them leading by eight runs to nil. It was virtually game over. For Samsung starting pitcher Jang Won Sam it actually was game over as he got the hook after a first innings where he had pitched fifty-three balls for eight runs and six hits.
The game settled down a bit after that opening flurry and there were no more runs for a while. Samsung seemed to show a bit more urgency in the field than they had done early on, but when you are eight runs down it’s probably not going to make a lot of difference. I got a couple more cans of Hite from the lady who was wandering around with a basket on her head and just sat back waiting for some more big hits.
I had to wait until the fifth for the next run. Jung Soo Bin’s hit took him to third, enabling him to get home a couple of balls later and extend Doosan’s lead to nine.
The travelling Samsung fans didn’t seem overly subdued by the scoreline and they had the odd moment or two to cheer. Unfortunately it was more often than not their mascot moonwalking than anything happening on the field though. Lee Seung Yeop, newly returned from his time in Japan, improved the mood with a hit to second. Unfortunately he raised an even bigger cheer from the Bears fans next ball when he strayed too far from his base and ran himself out.
Doosan got through plenty of pitchers as they looked to be giving everyone a chance in conditions where there wasn’t much pressure. In the ninth it was the turn of their American fella Scott Proctor. I’ve looked him up and he’s played a lot of Major League Baseball. He’s an interesting character, having been thrown out of a couple of games for deliberately chucking the ball at the receiving batter. He also set fire to his baseball kit on the field after one bad performance for the New York Yankees. That’s worth staying to the end for.
With a nine run lead I wasn’t expecting Proctor to get up to much mischief in this game. I was pleased though to see Lee Seung Yeop take a consolation run off him in the ninth, just on the off-chance that the pyromaniac pitcher might reach for the petrol can and start dowsing his cap and boots. If he did, he waited until they were safely out of sight in the dressing room.
The defeat was the second in a row for last season’s champions following their 10-7 home defeat against Nexen. Whilst that game had been close, this one could have been an even heavier loss than it was as only some very good Lions fielding and a couple of hits falling just short of the crowd kept the score down to nine for Doosan.