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Another day at office for S. Korean ball players at new dome

All Headlines 17:31 November 04, 2015

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Nov. 4 (Yonhap) -- For South Korean national baseball players, Wednesday was just another day at the office -- a domed one at that.

Before South Korea was to host Cuba in the first official game at the brand new Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, players said they didn't feel all that much different being under the roof.

Though some national team members have previously competed in domes in international tournaments, others are playing indoors for the first time, as Gocheok Sky Dome is the first of its kind in the country.

The one major difference indoors, as cited by some players, seemed to be magnified sounds. Even after getting the first practice out of the way a day earlier, players said Wednesday noise off the bat jumped out at them the most.

"I don't really feel much difference playing indoors," said Park Byung-ho, a four-time reigning home run king in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) who will bat cleanup Wednesday. "But the sound off the bat is really loud here."

Park, who is playing at a dome for the first time, said he didn't think the ball was carrying any farther off the bat, as it is won't to do at domes, a sentiment agreed by Jeong Keun-woo, the team captain who has played at Tokyo Dome.

Catcher Kang Min-ho, expected to get the bulk of playing time with another catcher, Yang Eui-ji, still nursing a broken toe, said he may be dealing with an entirely different sort of noise problem.

"When I catch pitches, the pop of the mitt can be startling," Kang said. "And I think I can even hear fans heckle from their seats. That's not going to be fun."

South Korea is facing Cuba Wednesday and again on Thursday in preparation for the upcoming Premier 12, an inaugural tournament to open Sunday at Sapporo Dome with a game between South Korea and Japan.

South Korean manager Kim In-sik said getting two games at the dome under the belt can't hurt.

"Obviously, not all domes are the same," Kim said. "But playing here should help the guys get used to the indoor surroundings."

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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