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Official Review by Eric Bynum, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Jamsil Baseball Stadium was completed in 1982 and hosted Olympic baseball games (it was only an exhibition sport) when Seoul hosted the games in 1988. It has housed two professional teams since its gates opened in the LG Twins and Doosan Bears.
This is one of the greatest rivalries in sport in Korea since they share a city and a stadium. Both teams are owned by huge Korean corporations and have legions of devote fans.
The stadium is one of the larger ones in Korea holding 27,000 people. It is a part of the Jamsil Sports Complex that sits next to Seoul Olympic 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".
One of the reasons I like this stadium is the access to western food. Around the stadium grounds on the outside sit several western restaurants including Burger King and KFC. However, during the 2012 season there was a new addition in Smoothie King. This adds a lot for me as now you can have a nice cold smoothie on a hot summer night.
In addition to the western food available, you can find the traditional Korean food that is available at any ballpark. Foods such as gimbap, mandu, ramyeon, deokbokki, and sausage on a stick are available. The Korean food is always a cheap choice and typically the food will be decent if not very good.
The greatest part of Korean baseball is the ability to bring in any food that you prefer. There are no restaurants within a short walk from the stadium, so pack what you want before heading to the stadium. Or you can pick some chicken or other treats up from the vendors outside the stadium.
Drinking is a big deal at baseball games in Korea. Korean beer is very cheap no matter where you buy it. You can pick up a single can for around $2-$3 and it is readily available everywhere inside and outside of the stadium. Other drinks will be available as well such as water, Gatorade, Pocari Sweat (a Japanese Gatorade type drink), and soda. These will all range from $1-$3 as well making your trip to the park a cheap affair.
Games in Korea always provide a great atmosphere since the fans are so great. If you want a different experience, get there early and grab a seat behind where one of the cheerleaders will be. That way you'll be right in the thick of it all.
Cheerleaders will be leading the fans on both sides of the game all night long. They love to cheer and they do it well with special chants for certain players.
The scoreboards are nice in Korea typically and the one at Jamsil Stadium is no exception. It is located in center field and it is huge. It is large enough to show the lineups of both teams fully on the scoreboard so you always know who is coming up to bat. It also keeps track of stats such as pitch counts and the speed of each pitch. The only downside is if you sit in parts of the outfield it will be difficult to see.
Seating at Jamsil Stadium is general admission for the outfield. There is reserved seating in the infield seats. If you purchase a ticket for the outfield, you will not be able to get to the infield seats. This might be a problem if you want to take photographs of the stadium from different angles. The seats in the infield are reserved and vary in price, but I have never had a problem roaming the entire infield area, except the VIP section. No one was ever there to check my ticket to see if I was in the right section, but your experience may vary.
Jamsil Baseball Stadium is part of a bigger sports complex. There isn't much around except other sporting arenas. However, if you have the time, walk over to the Olympic Stadium to see where many of the events were held including the opening and closing ceremonies in 1988. It is across the parking lot from the baseball stadium.
Luckily it is on the subway line making other parts of Seoul easily accessible. If you want to head out after the game for a drink, don't worry about the ballpark's neighborhood. Instead, head down the subway line just a few stops and get off at Gangnam (where you can really do it "Gangnam Style"). There you will find an endless line of restaurants, shops, and bars both Korean and western alike.
Fans of LG and Doosan are second to none. Typically the fans of the visiting team will show up in force which can lead to a sort of cheer off between the two sides. You will never be at a loss for something to cheer for.
Korean baseball fans are very passionate. They love to use their thundersticks (long balloon noise makers) and they love to cheer and chant to help their favorite team to victory.
One of the better times you can have is when LG and Doosan play each other. They share the stadium and both teams have loyal fans. During these games the fans will be even more raucous and loud. It's definitely something worth seeing.
The stadium is located on the Seoul subway line which makes it very accessible. The stadium is located on line 2 of the subway. Take it to Sports Complex Station and take exit number 5 and the stadium will be right in front of you.
There are many city buses that stop around the stadium. You can use any of the following buses. Blue buses (301, 360, 361, 362, 363, or 730), green buses (11-3, 11-6, 917, 2225, 3217, 3218, 3411, 3412, 3422, 3414, 3417, 3415, or 3314), or the yellow 41 will all take you to or very close to the stadium.
Access around the stadium isn't as easy. As mentioned before, you cannot move to the infield section with a ticket for the outfield. So decide before purchasing where you would like to see the game from.
Restrooms are plentiful and there is rarely a long line.
Korean baseball in general is a great investment. Ticket prices are very inexpensive ranging from about $7-$15 depending on if you want an outfield seat or infield seat. Prices run all the way up to about $50 for seats directly behind home plate.
What makes it so affordable is not only the low ticket prices but the fact you can bring anything into the stadium from home.
Add in the great fan interaction, the high level of baseball, and you are looking at a great return on your investment. It will be hard not to go away entertained in some form or fashion from a Korean baseball game.
There aren't many extras here at Jamsil Stadium. It was built 30 years ago and doesn't have a lot of the modern conveniences. There isn't even a lot around the stadium except for a few statues and venues from the 1988 Olympics.
Jamsil Baseball Stadium is there for baseball and not much else. People come to see the action on the field. Thankfully what happens on the field and in the stands is worth the trip.
Even though I am not a huge fan of either team, I really like Jamsil Baseball Stadium. Overall it's nice to see a game here. Don't concern yourself with attractions other than the game itself and you won't come away disappointed.
However, it was nice seeing the Olympic Stadium next door. It is not too often that most people, myself included, get to see a stadium where the Olympics was held.
If you want nightlife, head down the subway line just a few stops and head to Gangnam. You can find all the nightlife you want here.
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