LG Twins v Nexen Heroes, Saturday 31st March 2012, 1pm

After turning up at Bucheon three weeks ago for a football match that took place elsewhere, I had been looking to go back there and actually see a game. They were at home again last Saturday with a 7pm kick-off and the lateish kick-off gave me a bit of spare time in the afternoon to watch some baseball first.

I had a walk along to Jamsil where LG Twins were taking on Nexen Heroes in another of the pre-season games. As I approached the stadium I wondered whether or not the game was on. I couldn’t see anyone in the seats, which was surprising with only twenty minutes to go before the scheduled one o’clock start.

When I got there though, there were plenty of people milling around outside and the old biddies who sell the food and drink were out in force.

Plenty of dried squid available.

It was free entry, but the outfield seats weren’t open. I took a seat in the away fan section near third base, just high enough up to be able to see over the top of the netting. There weren’t too many other people inside as the game started, but there were probably ten thousand or so in there by the time I left. It was a similar attendance to that of the game I’d seen the previous week at Cheongju, but there’s a big difference in atmosphere between ten thousand people in a twelve thousand capacity ground and the same number of people spread out in a stadium that holds thirty thousand.

The crowd at 1pm.

In last week’s game Nexen hadn’t managed a single run against Hanwha, but they were off the mark in the first innings in this one, with Yoo Han Joon getting the hit that allowed one of his team mates to get home. Yoo Han Joon seemed pretty unpopular with the home fans and was booed every time he walked to the plate. I’ve no idea what the issue was, as far as I can see he isn’t an ex-LG player, nor has he turned out for their rivals Doosan Bears. Perhaps he’s just one of those fellas, like Robbie Savage or Craig Bellamy, that you feel obliged to boo, pantomime-style, whenever you see them. Fair enough.


The Nexen celebrations for their run and indeed anything else were hampered by their lack of cheerleaders. Perhaps they were economising and saving them for the proper start of the season. One of their fans was happy to fill the gap though and despite the absence of any music or a megaphone, he managed to lead his fellow supporters in a variety of chants. I liked the way that he generally kept one eye on what was happening on the field whilst still managing to cajole some noise from the Nexen faithful.

Not the usual gratuitous cheerleader picture.

Nexen kept their lead until the third innings and then fell a run behind in the fourth. In the break between innings I had a glance around at the people sat nearby. The old bloke to my right was drinking yellow coloured liquid from a jam jar. I’d like to think that he hadn’t mixed up his refreshments with a urine sample. There was a man behind me using the sort of lens on his camera that you could photograph a moon landing with and of course, the obligatory couple in matching clothes, this time showing their love for Nexen as well as each other.

That's commitment.

There were a lot of families in the crowd too and some of them had brought children that were far too young to really appreciate what was going on. A pre-season game is an ideal situation though to bring a young kid. There’s plenty of room, it’s free to get in and other fans aren’t going to get arsey about a toddler running around.

When my son was three or four years old I would take him to Boro reserve games at Ayresome Park. He’d watch the football for a while but then would be more interested in running up and down, getting some sweets and then going home at half-time. I didn’t mind, I’d got to see forty five minutes or so of football and we’d had an night off from watching Thomas the Tank Engine. Nobody else in the crowd was inconvenienced at those games as the place was empty. Mind you, if I recall correctly the crowds for the first team matches weren’t much bigger in those Lennie Lawrence days.

Nexen regained their lead with two runs in the fifth before the home side responded with a hit that ended up in the empty outfield seats and tied the game at three each.

The first home run of the day.

By the start of the eighth it was still three all and time for me to leave to catch the subway to Bucheon for the football. I had a look on the internet later and someone had got a fourth run to take the game. I can’t remember which team it was unfortunately, maybe Nexen. Anyway, it’s not important.

That’s it for my pre-season baseball, next time I go it will be the real thing. Or maybe not, I’ve got plans this year to watch a fair bit of second tier baseball in the Futures League. So it will be up and coming hopefuls battling it out alongside grizzled old pro’s returning from injury or loss of form. The stadiums appear to be located in towns whose existence is rarely even acknowledged by the guide books and I’m expecting the crowds to consist almost exclusively of coaching staff, agents and families. There’ll probably be an old bloke or two drinking their own piss as well.

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