A great big WOW for the game we just came from - amazing!
We left the hotel with Ben and got to the stadium about 2 hours before the game. Ben left us and we went to the gift shop to get souvenirs. The gift shop was closed, but someone that worked at the field, told them to let us in. We got to shop and get everything we wanted before the shop even opened. Our first taste of being treated different because of Ben.
The game was against a rival team that Ben has struggled with before, but he did a great job! He pitched 6 2/3 innings and had a shutout! He had 10 strike-outs. When he left the field, the fans shouted 'Jukichi' very loud several times! They really love him! His team won 4-0! He got MVP for the game again and was interviewed on the field and then again with their national sports station. We had to wait for him and went to the front and then his interpreter (JD) asked us to wait in the business office. We waited there with the general manager of the team and manager of operations from the team and JD. Ben met us there and they talked some about his great game and hoping he would be back next year (or the next 10 years!). They told Mark, they had wanted to have him throw the opening pitch, but it didn't work out - they said hopefully another time. They gave a gift to Kathryn and one to me. We didn't know the 'etiquette' of opening there or not and Kat asked - JD said it was up to us, so we took them with us. The whole evening we felt like we were being treated like 'royalty'.
We left there and went out the main doors and the fans swarmed Ben and shouted 'Jukichi' over and over. He signed autographs and had photos taken with several of them and then we made our way to the subway.
We went back to our room and opened our gifts - we both got beautiful Korean jewelry boxes! We had admired them when we were shopping at the Coex Mall, but they were way too expensive to buy, so we were both amazed. We had not expected anything like that! It was very generous and kind of them.
We went for some food and a beer at a bar in the lower level of the bar. They servers all shouted 'Jukichi' when he came in. He signed a few autographs there and had his photo taken with fans, too. One of them even wanted a photo of him with his family. The whole thing was all so surreal! Mark was flying high - no early to bed for him tonight! Tomorrow we are going early to the game so we can meet more officials of the team. What an amazing day!