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A “Fabulous Spring” for Pro Baseball

Posted April. 06, 2005 09:33,   


With the temperature hovering around 20 degrees Celsius, the warm, early summer-like weather made April 5 the perfect day for playing baseball. And since it coincided with Korea’s Arbor Day, the holiday crowd helped set the record for the largest number of spectators attending baseball games on a single day.

The total number of fans thronging the stands at Jamsil (30,500), Sajik (30,000), Munhak (30,400) and Daejeon (10,500) was 101,400. This is the first time that the one-day total has exceeded 100,000, with all four ballparks recording sell-outs. The previous record was 85,241, set on August 18, 1991.

As if in appreciation of such enthusiastic support, three of the games were memorable ones filled with dramatic rallies.

For 30-year friends and long-time rivals Sun Dong-ryul (Samsung) and Lee Soon-cheol (LG), their first face-off as managers ended with Samsung coming from behind to beat LG 7-5.

Samsung was trailing 3-5 with two outs and the bases loaded in the eighth inning when Kim Han-soo’s double and Kim Jong-hoon’s clutch hit quickly garnered them four runs for the lead. Kim Han-soo was the star in Samsung’s win, recording a two-run home run in the fifth with his team trailing LG 1-2, a hit in the seventh followed by a run, and a two-RBI double in the eighth. Overall, he was 3-for-4, with four RBIs and three runs. Manager Sun Dong-ryul now has three straight wins since the season began, while Lee is on a three-game losing streak.

Although his team lost the game, LG’s Seo Yong-bin, who returned from an eight-month absence after fulfilling his military service as a public service recruit, started as the first baseman and sixth in the lineup, and hit a score-tying double in the fifth inning to fervent applause from home fans.

The encounter between Hanhwa’s manager Kim In-sik and Doosan’s manager Kim Kyung-moon, who have a student-teacher relationship, ended 6-5 in Hanhwa’s favor. Kim In-sik was Doosan’s manager for nine years, until 2003.

Hanhwa was trailing behind Doosan by four runs until the seventh inning, when eight of its hitters managed to get on base to tie up the score. The eighth inning found Hanhwa trailing once again 4-5, but Kim In-cheol’s tying solo home run and Baek Seung-ryong’s sacrifice fly during the ensuing one-out, first-and-third situation produced the go-ahead run.

Hwan Soo Zang zangpabo@donga.com