I hope this link will work.
These are the highlights of maybe the best game of baseball I've ever seen. I remember when Joe Carter hit his World Series winning home run for the Blue Jays but I don't remember the game being quite as exciting as this one.
I was at home watching it on my computer with my friend Guns. We had a few beers and were planning to go watch at a bar somewhere after having only a couple at my place. We didn't want to tear ourselves away from the game. It was that exciting. We finished all our beer and had a couple White Russians before the game finally came to its AWESOME conclusion. It was a long one. I think it was over 4 hours.
So after jumping around, high fiving, high tenning and yelling a lot, Guns and I went to a place downtown for further celebration. There were a couple VERY unfortunate things about the game, however. It started at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. I talked with a few people who had tried to watch it in a bar and they said there really weren't that many people watching in bars. Because of the time. One guy said he was the only one in the place he was at and the owner said to him that he was sad the game started at 2 since he wasn't getting that much business. At 6 PM the day before Gwangju's Olympic Soccer Stadium was opened up and some fans watched game 6 on the big screen there. But the fact that the stadium was opened wasn't very well advertised so not many people went. And, of course, Kia didn't win game 6. I would have gone if I'd known though. The soccer stadium wasn't open for game seven again because it was at 2 in the afternoon.
The other unfortunate thing was that the final was played in Seoul at Chamshill Stadium. I guess that's where all the Kia fans were because when we got to downtown Gwangju after the game there was no sign that the home team had just won one of the most dramatic victories ever. It was pretty dead.
We went to the German Bar. It's one of two foreigner bars in town. Really the only pub in Gwangju. There was nobody there when we arrived at about 8 PM. And there are plenty of foreigners here who are big Tiger fans. But, undeterred, we asked the waitress to put the game replay on the TV and we watched it one more time while drinking German beer.
Above is a good pic of the game 7 hero, Na Ji Weon and the guy I thought should have been the Series MVP, Aquilino Lopez. Na is a second year player for the Tigers. If you scroll WAY back in this blog to find my season predictions for the Tigers I wrote that I thought Na Ji Weon might just "bust out" and have a good year this year. Talk about busting out! I don't think he deserved MVP but it was a popular choice and I can't say I'm sad to see him get it. I've seen a lot of Tigers games and usually I'm there for warm-ups a couple hours before the game. It's pretty clear that Na Ji Weon is well loved by his teammates. He's a funny-looking, clumsy, player with a bad, Kirby Pucket-esque body. The other Tigers often joke around with him on the field. He's got that kind of mascot-like position on the team. Because of this a LOT of people were pulling for him to do well this year. I really like him.
He had a very good year. He wasn't a regular starter but despite that he got 384 at bats. That was fourth on the team behind former major leaguer Choi Hee Seop, this year's league MVP, Kim Sang Hyun, and Tiger superhero, Lee Jong Beom. He got over 100 hits 73 RBI's and 23 homers. I'd call that busting out.
In the first game of the Korea Series he didn't start. But he came in for 2 at bats. He got out both times. Then in the second game he got up 4 times, had no hits and one sacrifice bunt. (which of course didn't work). He didn't start game three but he looked better getting a walk and a strike-out in two at bats. In game four he started. I was nervous that Jo Beom Hyun was going to keep him out of the game but was happy to see him play. He got two strike-outs and an out before FINALLY getting his first hit up the middle and knocking in his first run of the series.
So in the first 4 games he went 1/11, 3K, 1RBI. Not MVP type numbers. I thought he wouldn't start game 5 but he did. Gotta give credit to coach Jo for sticking with him. In game 5 he got another hit, another strike-out and another sacrifice. (which didn't work). In game 6 he got a hit and a walk in 4 at bats. So his numbers were 3/17, 4K, 1RBI, 1BB. Still not overwhelming but he was looking more and more comfortable.
In game 7 he hit TWO homers, got 3 RBI's and even threw in a walk. His final numbers were 5/21, 4K, 4RBI, 2BB. His average in the series was less than .250. Just about the entire SK lineup had a better average than that. But he DID win the final game for Kia pretty much single-handedly. And I didn't see any envy at all from other players. They were all happy for him. And I sure was!
Lopez got 2 wins and a hold in game 7. I thought he shoulda won MVP. But I kinda like it when the MVP is not a pitcher.
Choi Hee Seop hit .320 in the series, (8/25), including 4 walks, 6 runs, 5 RBI's. These are better numbers than Na Ji Weon and his two RBI's in game two won the game 2-1 for the Tigers. I suppose the reason I wouldn't give him the MVP was that he hit zero homers and struck out 5 times. He supposed to be the Tigers' home run guy.
An honourable mention goes to An Chi Hong. I noticed this rookie in pre-season and said he'd platoon with another guy at second base this season. Well the other guy is now history. An Chi Hong was voted to the All Star Game and got the MVP of that! A rookie! Too bad I was in Thailand when that happened! In the Korea Series he hit .286, (6/21) with 2 runs, 2 RBI's, 2 stolen bases and a homer. Not spectacular but it was a defensive series. And his defence was STELLAR as you can see from watching the highlights of game seven at the top of this page. He's number 8 on second base. I think he got about 10 outs in the game.
My two favourite players did well also. Lee Jong Beom hit only .238 but won game one to get the Tigers off to a good start. He also had 4 walks, 4 RBI's and 2 runs. Yoon Suk Min pitched 12 innings giving up 14 hits, and 3 runs. He struck out 11 batters but in all that time the Tigers gave him 2 runs worth of support. He won game two but lost 3-2 in game six. However Yoon won the All Star game and Lee Jong Beom was runner up for MVP.
What a great year it was for the Tigers! I can't wait for next season!