Cue Taiwan. Wang, and to a lesser extent Ni, have shown that they belong on a Major League playing field. Wang, especially, had a couple of stellar seasons with the (hated) Yankees, and this year he made a successful return from the disabled list with the Nats. Ni has struggled in recent years, spending the past couple of season with the Triple A Toledo Mud Hens, but he still has the potential to return to the big leagues. These two players (a third Taiwanese from MLB, Hong-Chih Kuo 郭泓志, seems to have given up on the game) deserve to be on the same team as their peers from the AL and NL, and not reduced to serving as ringers for the local side, which unfortunately seems to be the case here. It's as if the San Francisco Giants were to play the University of Washington in an exhibition game, with Giants standout pitcher (and Cy Young Award winner) Tim Lincecum suiting up for the Huskies, his alma mater.
I'm left to wonder if Taiwanese fans are not ready to allow Wang to have his moment, basking in the adulation of the hometown (home country?) crowd in the presence of his fellow teammates from the majors. No, Wang and Ni have to switch sides, and carry the banner for the natives against the foreign horde. For in all likelihood, this series won't be viewed here as a contest between a group of baseball players who ply their trade in the American and National Leagues (made up of 30 teams based in the USA and Canada), vs. a team of players representing the local Chinese Professional Baseball League 中華職業棒球大聯盟 (with perhaps a couple of players who are based in Japan). Rather, I have the feeling Taiwanese fans will think of these exhibition contests as battles between Americans and Taiwanese, despite the fact that in any given baseball season, between 25-30% of players on Major League rosters were born outside of the United States, with Taiwan included on that list (and a quick perusal of the lineup for the MLB team coming to Taiwan reveals several players from the Dominican Republic, along with a couple of Venezuelans). And you can't have the Pride of Taiwan siding with the barbarians now, can you?
沒關係. Parochialism may rule, and chances to broaden the international outlook of the local populace are in danger of being squandered, but I'm still looking forward to next week's game. Play ball!