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Woori Heroes Kick off First Season at New Mokdong Ballpark

Woori Heroes Kick off First Season at New Mokdong Ballpark

Posted April. 03, 2008 06:25,   


“Let’s start by learning one-on-one,” said a cheerleader, struggling to teach a new chant and slogan to the fans. The enthusiastic audience followed the instruction, shouting the chant and waving white stick balloons.

The 16,000-seat ballpark was filled with just 4,833 spectators, but the atmosphere was filled with unrestrained exuberance exceeding that of Sajik Baseball Stadium, which has seating capacity of 30,000.

Woori Heroes, Korea’s eighth professional baseball team, finally succeeded in ushering in a new era at Mokdong Baseball Stadium following a host of challenges, like a delayed sponsorship contract, failure of some players to attend training, and late stadium construction.

Coach Lee Kwang-hwan said, smiling broadly, “I was worried that not many fans would come but seeing their enthusiasm has alleviated my concerns.”

At the opening game against Hanwha Eagles on Tuesday, the team mascot named “Hero” entertained the audience with a horse mask as the popular rock group “Crying Nut” sang its famous song "Let’s Ride a Horse." Larisa, a foreigner who is a panelist on a TV program called “Interview of the Beauties,” drew much public attention with her first debut as a cheerleader.

In particular, Lee Seung-dae, father of the late Lee Su-hyeon, who died after saving a Japanese man who fell on a subway track in Tokyo in 2001, threw the first pitch at the opening ceremony.

Cliff Brumbaugh hit the first home run while Cho Pyeong-ho made a clean hit in the bottom of the ninth inning to win the game as spectators erupted in celebration.

Still, many things remain to be done. Fans may experience some inconveniences such as the lack of tables in the VIP section and a makeshift barrier between VIP and regular seating.

The nearly 5,000 spectators had only one convenient store to go to in the entire stadium, and construction material lay outside of the ballpark. An Woori Heroes official said, “We will try to secure convenient facilities such as restaurants as soon as possible.”