Some might argue baseball is the national pastime for the United States. And to us baseball is the national pride in Taiwan...
Nevertheless, after losing to our ever rival China two games in a row in both 2008 Olympics in Beijing and 2009 World Baseball Classic in Tokyo, the baseball industry in Taiwan seemed facing a unprecedented crisis. Thus, National Youth Commission decided to support the baseball by ourselves, designing to watch the professional game between La New Bears of Kaohsiung and Brothers Elephants of Taipei, in the courtesy of the Commissioner, 王昱婷.
After work, we took MRT to Hsinpu Station, then transfered to bus. Since it was rush hour, we were stuck in the traffic jam for a long while before we reached the baseball stadium.
It was not my first time to watch a baseball game inside this baseball stadium, it was, however, the first time for me to watch La New Bears' game live.
The bottom of first inning, 王勝偉, shortstop of Elephants hit a solo homer off the starting pitcher, 許文雄. Elephants lead 1:0 in the first inning. However, the Bears staged a huge comeback show right in the top of second inning. First batter of second inning 石志偉 hit by pitch, reaching first base to start the offense for the Bears. Center fielder 黃龍義 hit a hot liner to center field. The bears reached second and third bases. Soon afterwards, 林智平, shortstop of the Bears, drove in one run on a single to right. The fielder of the Elephants made an error to score another run for the Bears. Foreign player, Timothy Raines Jr., had a RBI double. After two outs, 林智勝, third baseman of the Bears, hit a hard roller to the pitcher yet the Japanese pitcher of the Elephants threw back to the catcher on an error to score two more runs for the Bears. After Chen Chin Feng, national hero of Taiwan, hit an RBI double to the right. The inning, and almost the suspense of the game, was over. The Bears, not only tied the game, but also led the Elephants by the margin of five.
Top of the third inning, Tim Raines Jr. of the Bears hit an opposite direction solo homer to the left. It was his first homerun in Chinese Professional Baseball League. He is the son of the ex-Yankees, Timothy Raines. Tonight he had 3 runs, 3 RBIs on 3 hits to earn him first MVP trophy in CPBL.
"The opposite homer is very difficult to hit. He got a great contact to drive that ball out of the ballpark." Liam, a Elephants' fan exclaimed.
As for me, I had all my attention on No. 52 Chin Feng Chen, an ex-Dodger of Major League Baseball. He brought us numerous hopes in all of the international baseball matches. I hoped he could hit a homer tonight but unfortunately he "only" hit a double.
At the seven inning stretch, the big screen on the right field showed welcome messages from the league, saying "Welcome National Youth Commissioner Yu-Ting Wang to enjoy the ballgame!" And the camera also shot the commissioners and the people around, which made another interlude to tonight's event.
Later in the game, since the margin between the two teams were a lot so the main point was not to enjoy the ballgame, but to spend the trash time!
My thoughts after tonight's game:
1.) To decrease the errors to make the games more professional!
2.) The traffic around the stadium need to be improved big time!
3.) The infrastructure in and around the stadium still need to be improved to compare with the international level.