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Official Review by Eric Bynum, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The Samsung Lions (삼성 라이온즈) are one of the most storied franchises in Korean Baseball having won a total of five championships (2nd most in history) and finished runner up a record nine times. They have been playing at Daegu Citizen Stadium (also known as Daegu Baseball Stadium) since their inception in 1982.
The Lions play in the ever popular Korean Baseball Organization. The league has a total of 8 teams (will be 9 in 2013), and only the Kia Tigers have more titles.
Daegu Baseball Stadium holds just under 14,000 and is one of the oldest stadiums in the country having been built in 1948. However, the Lions will have a new home in 2014 as the city of Daegu is building a new stadium.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The stadium itself doesn't offer a lot of dining options. You can find Korean favorites like gimbap, ramyeon, sausage on a stick, and the popular ddeokbokki. You will also find snacks like chips and ice cream readily available at the vendors inside the stadium. However, the great thing about baseball in Korea is you can bring anything you want into the game.
Located outside the stadium are hoards of vendors peddling their wares. You'll find chicken, pizza, and other goodies to bring through the gates, and you'll find them at reasonable prices.
Don't like what you find? Then head on over to the local E-Mart (very similar to Wal-Mart) which is located close by to pick up some snacks.
The beverage selection is pretty typical for a Korean baseball stadium with lots of water, sports drinks, beer, and soju. The prices are cheap in and outside the stadium, so you don't need to load up on a particular drink unless it is a specialty. Most drinks will run between $1-$3, beer included.
If you want some Western food, you might want to bring it. There isn't much around the stadium aside from the E-Mart a short 10 minute walk away, but even there you won't find a whole lot of Western style foods.
With it being one of the smaller stadiums in the league, the atmosphere is electric. When the Lions are playing well, which they usually are, the fans are loud and there are a lot of them.
Like any other stadium, they love their thundersticks and chants to cheer on their home town favorites. The cheer leaders get the fans into a raucous state every game no matter what the outcome is. Add in that the other teams fans usually travel well, and the small stadium can be rocking with excitement.
The passion that the fans show for their teams here is second to none. Despite being an old stadium that will welcomingly be replaced, it will be missed for its intimacy that is likely not to be seen again in newer stadiums.
There isn't much around the stadium. It sits next to a soccer stadium that is no longer used by local professional team. There aren't many restaurants around either. There are some small Korean restaurants and a convenience store or two but nothing special. Anything worth going to is at least a 10-15 minute walk away and still there isn't much. The good thing is that it is just a short taxi ride away from downtown where you will find almost anything to interest any eater.
It's hard to give anything but a five to fans in Korea. The passion they have for the game is extraordinary. Even people who are not familiar with baseball have been swept away with emotion from the roaring fans.
They cheer during the good and bad times and there is just nothing like having a crowd of 14,000 close together cheering in unison. So grab some thundersticks and join in the fun. You'll have a blast and they will love to see you cheering on their team.
Daegu Baseball Stadium has one disadvantage to a lot of the other stadiums in Korea and that is the access. With only a small subway system, there is no direct subway access. The closest subway stop is on Line 1 at Deagu Station, but it is a good 20 minute walk to the stadium from here.
Another option is to take a bus. A few buses stop in front of the stadium or a short walk away. The best way to get to the stadium is to take the 202-1, 349, 704 or 708 to Daegu Citizen Stadium.
Most of the tickets are general admission giving you access to the majority of the stadium. The areas behind home plate require a reserved seat ticket. However, the rest of the stadium is open seating and it is easy to move from one side to the other. Circling the stadium is a walkway that runs from dugout to dugout around through the outfield.
There are plenty of restrooms around the stadium and even with the large crowds wait times are short.
Despite the old stadium, the value of a game in Daegu is quite nice. A general admission ticket will run you under $7. For that price you will get to see quality baseball in a great environment. The passion that will run through the stadium as the game proceeds is worth the cost of admission.
You will need to plan in advance however. Many of the games will sell out prior to game day. If there are tickets left, there might not be many and fans will be lined up outside the stadium at the ticket booths several hours before the gates open.
There really isn't anything extra at Daegu Baseball Stadium. There is no museum, coffee shop, or fast food restaurant that might add the slightest bit of value. The area is pretty bare around it as far as places to see and things to do. So go for the game and the experience and don't expect much else.
Despite being an old stadium that is in desperate need of being replaced, the fans and baseball action here make it a must see. Over the years the Samsung Lions have seen some of Korea's greatest players including Yang Joon-Hyuk, Lee Man-Soo, and Lee Seung-Yeop. It has also seen former MLB players come and go including the ageless Julio Franco.
Grab some cold ones, a few friends, and some great Korean fried chicken and head on over for an afternoon of fun in the sun with the Samsung Lions. You won't be disappointed.
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