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Friday, November 4, 2011

Taking myself out to the ballgame

Last night I had the pleasurable experience of taking in Game 2 of the 2011 Taiwan All-Star Series at the T'aichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium 臺中市洲際棒球場. I had hoped to bring my daughter along with me, but the high price I paid for one ticket, NT2800 ($93/¥7260), put, um, paid to that idea. Still, I don't regret having gone, for events like this one don't happen very often in Taiwan, especially here in T'aichung (Tái​zhōng) 台中. The final score was 5-3 in favor of the Major League All-Stars over the regrettably-named Chinese T'aipei national baseball team 中華臺北棒球代表隊. The Taiwanese side, made up of amateurs, players from the North American minor leagues and several plying their trade in Japan, certainly showed a lot of the what the Japanese call "fighting spirit" 闘志, coming from 2-0 down to take a 3-2 lead, but in the end poor fielding and a wild pitch did the local boys in (though the MLB squad was the official "home team" for this game). The fans were solidly behind their team throughout the game, but they didn't seem disappointed with the outcome, and big cheers were given for Curtis Granderson (a Led Zeppelin fan, judging by his at bat song) and Robinson Cano, two of Chien-Ming Wang's 王建民 former teammates from his New York Yankees days. Speaking of "The Hero of Taiwan", though he didn't pitch in this contest, his visible presence in the dugout got a lot of people excited. The only low point of last night's game was the serious injury incurred by one of the Taiwanese players, Kuo-Hui Lo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuo_Hui_Lo#Kuo-Hui_Lo), a minor league player in the Seattle Mariners system. Lo dislocated his right ankle and fractured his right leg getting tagged out at home in the fifth inning, and had to carried off the field on a stretcher. It was obvious from the look on his face that he was in a lot of pain.
 
You can read a summary of Game 2 on the Major League Baseball homepage. Some video highlights can be seen by clicking on the FastCast link on the mlb.com main page (http://mlb.mlb.com/index.jsp).

A few photos from last night:

Approaching the stadium before the start of the game. Parking spaces for cars were at a premium, but having come by scooter, I was able to find a spot just a few blocks away. I was also able to avoid the traffic jam after the game by using a series of side streets behind the ballpark.
 
The view from my seat, just before the start of the game.
 
The opposing managers exchange lineup cards and go over the ground rules with the umpires. No. 16 is Bruce Bochy of the San Francisco Giants, managing the MLB team on its tour of Taiwan.
 
The first pitch of the game. On the mound for the MLB team is Ross Detwiler of the Washington Nationals.
 
Speaking of the Nationals, Screech, the team's mascot (http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/was/community/mascot.jsp), paid a visit to our section during the later innings.
 
The scoreboard showing the final linescore.
 
Players from both sides shake hands after the game.

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