Ah, baseball's opening day... The crack of the bats, the roar of the crowds, the tang of squid being grilled, the slurp of ramyeon noodles being eaten with chopsticks. From the moment you approach any of the eight main pro baseball venues, it's clear you're not in Kansas anymore.
The SK Wyverns home field is Munhak Stadium, part of a huge sports complex in Incheon. Opening Day 2014, was overcast with a chill in the air, but that never dampened the enthusiasm of the 27,600-strong full-capacity crowd.
Baseball fever grips you before you even leave the subway, as so many attendees proclaim their team affiliation with jerseys bearing the name of their favorite player, and an ajumma hands out a free baseball pap at the top of the escalator.
The short walk to the ticket window is lined with vendors hawking beer, chicken, squid, kimbap and whatever else you may need for a day in the park. A 330 ml beer will cost 2,000 W, and eight inches of kimbap runs cheon won. It's generally the same price once you're inside, so you don't need to stock up. Reserved tickets six rows back from the third base line were 10,000 W; you can bring the whole family for a day out, and get home with money in your pocket.
The Wyverns hosted the Nexen Heroes, and while there was some exciting infield action in the early innings, the game was mostly a story of the Heroes hitters taking a 2 - 1 lead in the third, and adding two runs in each of the 6th, 8th and 9th for a decisive 8 - 3 victory.
A light mist began in the seventh, and the umbrellas and ponchos came out (if you had the foresight to purchase one from the ajumma out front), but spirits remained high--especially if you were a Heroes supporter.
Following the game, many fans make their way to the parking lots or the Metro station (don't forget to dispose of your trash), but many stop in for a bite and a final beer in the pojang macha city to commiserate (SK fans) or relive the best moments from the game (Heroes fans).
One down, 127 games to go.