Arrived in Taiwan!
I left on Friday and arrived in Taiwan on Sunday morning at 6am. This past day and a half of traveling has been wild. I left Fort Lauderdale, connected in Houston, flew to Los Angeles, and finally took the 15 hour flight over to Taipei. I was greeted by our translator “Luis” at the airport who was extremely nice and polite. He gave me the low down of the culture of the baseball in Taiwan.
When I arrived at 6am I was told we had a doubleheader at our home stadium. One thing that is different over here compared to the minor leagues is that their doubleheaders are nine innings. I somehow didn’t feel too jetlagged yet, so I came over to the field to meet my new teammates and coaching staff. I signed all my contracts and was given a ton of equipment to supply me for the next 2 years. Our home field is only two years old and is amazing. Its playing surface is pristine and the dugouts are huge. We have indoor batting cages and pitching mounds, as well as a state of the art workout facility under the stadium. The stadiums dimensions are pretty fair and the wind howls across from right to left, which can be beneficial as a pitcher. Their are two tiers and it looks like the stadium can hold around 20,000-25,000 fans. The locker rooms are well maintained and our pre-game spread was delicious dumplings. One were filled with pork and the others were more like a pastry and plain. I’m very excited to try out all the cultural food Taiwan has to offer.
Once we took the field I noticed many similarities of that to winterball. Managers play this game like it is the playoffs. Teams bunt early in the game and try to run. As the game goes on they will also play the matchups and get pitchers going in the bullpen to be ready for certain hitters. The most interesting parts I found so far was that when we score the player who scores runs along the dugout fence and slap hands with our teammates rather than coming into the dugout to be greeted. The other is after the 5th inning there is a 10-15 minute break for the grounds crew to re-paint the lines, batters box, and groom the field. It is like a half time in baseball. It should be interesting to see how pitchers react to this, because they can be cruising throughout the game and then have to wait for the game to resume. This can throw off their rhythm, so they need to focus and know how to be ready once the game resumes. There are some other rules that are different that play into affect. If a batter hits a homerun and the next batter is beaned with a ball, its an automatic ejection. Also if a batter is hit twice in one game, the pitcher is ejected.
I will be posting videos and pictures of sites around town once I get settled into an apartment or hotel. Please feel free to comment and ask questions and share this link with your friends.
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