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Official Review by Eric Bynum, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Daejeon Hanbat Baseball Stadium is home to the Hanwha Eagles of the KBO. It is the third oldest stadium in the league opening in 1964. It was recently renovated and now seats a total of 14,133.
The Hanwha Eagles have only one title to their credit (1999) and have been one of the worst teams in the league over the past five seasons finishing last in three of them.
The stadium is typical for one built nearly five decades ago in that it is just a concrete jungle with little to no character. However, it does have one feature that most stadiums do not.
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That interesting feature is that the concession stands are on the field side of the concourse. So if you need to get up and get a drink during the game, you won't miss the action on the field.
As for the offerings of the stadium, they are typical of any other stadium in Korea. They offer the traditional Korean snacks such as mandu, ramyeon, and deokbokki along with a selection of chips and other snacks typically found at convenience stores.
Another staple of Korean stadiums are the inexpensive drinks. Beer (mekju) is in easy supply, as is water, Gatorade, and sodas. All are cheap for a ballgame and can be found in and outside of the stadium.
The great part of Korean baseball stadiums is the ability to bring anything into the game. With the food selection rather slim, you can always pick up your favorite pizza or chicken and bring it in with you. There are always people with shop set up outside as well selling fried chicken and other good tasty treats.
Daejeon Hanbat Stadium got a facelift in 2012, but it's still a very old stadium. A new scoreboard was added in left field with a nice new video board. It is a nice complement to the old board in center field that showcases the lineups of both teams as well as the line score of the game.
The seating is still crappy plastic seats, but on the plus side they aren't bleachers. The stadium is so small that there really isn't a bad seat in the house. With most of the seating general admission, it is easy to move around and find a good available seat.
The cheerleaders are always a nice addition to the game. They help lead the fans and have an infectious enthusiasm.
There is little to nothing around the stadium in Daejeon. This of course doesn't help the charm of the stadium at all.
If you are looking for a place to grab a drink or some food, I suggest you head on over near Chungnam National University where there are plenty of bars and restaurants.
The fans in Daejeon are great just like at every other stadium in Korea. The fans are passionate and cheer their team on come rain or shine. Along with the cheerleaders, the fans are vocal all game long whether they are beating their thundersticks together, or saying one of the many chants for their favorite players.
The games are exciting, especially when sitting among the Eagles' fans. You can't help but want to cheer alongside them even if you don't quite understand what they are saying.
Despite the bad play on the field in recent years, the fans are still great which really shows the love of the game in Korea.
Access to the stadium isn't great. The stadium isn't on the subway line in Daejeon, but it can be reached by using the Express Bus #2 or a 15-20 minute walk from Jungangno station on the Daejeon Subway Line 1.
If you are coming in from another town, Daejeon Station is on the KTX line (high speed rail). From there it is a short taxi ride to the stadium. Or you can hop on the subway and take it one stop to Jungangno station and walk from there.
The low cost of tickets and concessions make the return on investment nice. The quality of play in the KBO is higher than many realize, and the excitement of the fans is infectious.
Being able to bring in your own food and drink really makes up for the old stadium. Games in Korea are inexpensive and the fans are much more vocal than most people from the U.S. are used to. It's really an experience that everyone should see if given the opportunity.
There isn't really anything interesting to see at or around the stadium. It's old and doesn't have many extras. Other than a team shop where you can pick up a t-shirt, there isn't much to see.
The new stadium upgrades are nice, but it was really needed. The stadium is still old and could use additional upgrades, but old or not it's a nice place to see a game. The fans are great and the cheap price makes a trip to the park well worth it.
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