Saturday, July 30, 2005

Taiwan Baseball (Chinese Taipei vs. Long Beach Armada/Samurai Bears 7/30/05)

Well, I attended my first official Chinese Taipei Baseball Team game today (7/30/05 against the Long Beach Armada/Samurai Bears split squad. The game was played down in Long Beach at Blair Field, home of the LB Armada and Long Beach State 49ers. I first found out about the game online from the LB Armada website.

Being an ABC and the fact that my parents are from Taiwan, I grew up in PA, following little league baseball in Williamsport. My curiosity and interest in Taiwanese baseball - and baseball in general, began then when I realized how talented these kids were at such a young age. As I grew older, I always wondered what happened to these wonder kids. My first researched foray into Taiwanese baseball was from a Sports Illustrated article written in August 19, 1991 titled, "Where Have you Gone Yu Hong-Kai?" Then, with the explosion of the world wide web, I began searching for everything related to baseball in Taiwan. But because I can't read Chinese, my sources were limited to English only sites. What I did find out though from limited resources, was that most of the kids who were good enough played for the national team in different bracketed age groups. The most talented players were usually signed by professional team in Japan - (most famous example - Tai-Yuan Kuo, nicknamed the "Orient Express" who played for the Seibu Lions) while other players were signed to play in a domestic professional baseball league in Taiwan - known as the CPBL nowadays. Finally with the signing of Chin-Feng Chen by the LA Dodgers in 1999, I realized that things had come full circle. These same Taiwanese kids have grown up and are here today to try and realize the American dream: to make a Major League Club.

Ok, now onto today's game. It was a 7 inning exhibition game that began at 3:05 pm PST. Going into the game, I really only knew of one player Kuo Hui Lo - a 19 year OF for the Chinese Taipei Team. This kid was just recently signed by the Seattle Mariners. Lo was easily the most impressive player in the game. He had 4 AB's: 2 walks, a stolen base, a triple, and a home run, while driving in 4 runs. The kid was a stud. The starting pitcher for Chinese Taipei - Ying Feng Tsai wasn't too shabby either, throwing a 5 inning no hitter. Probably the highlight of my day was getting Lo and Warren Cromartie's autograph. Mr. Cromartie, if you don't know is an ex-MLB player with the former Montreal Expos. But he is more well known as one of Japan's great foreign players when he played with the Yomiuri Giants. Warren is the current head coach of the Samurai Bears, an all Japanese team playing in the Golden Baseball League. I have posted a few pics of Lo - # 52. I will try and post more later when I figure out this blogging thing. :) Enjoy!

PS Please do not use my images without my consent first. Thank you.

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