WBC advancement a major mile-stone in Taiwan baseball
The China Post news staffOn Tuesday, March 5, a 20,000-strong crowd of baseball fans at Taichung Intercontinental Stadium, along with millions of Taiwanese in front of televisions around the island, witnessed a historic moment in the nation's baseball history.
March 9, 2013, 12:09 am TWN
It was on that day that Taiwan's national baseball team, playing under the name of Chinese Taipei, advanced to the World Baseball Classic's (WBC) second round games for the first time in the tourney's history.
Despite losing to its archrival South Korea 3-2 on that day, Taiwan, with a 2-1 record, won the bid to advance to the second round to kick off Friday in Tokyo for the Final 8 matchups.
This is definitely something worth celebrating for the national squad, who have been seen as underdogs in the WBC, the world's highest-level international baseball competition.
The advancement of Taiwan, a team that clinched only one victory in the total of six games played in the previous two versions of the WBC in 2006 and 2009, is seen by most foreign media as a huge surprise.
After all, Chinese Taipei was only able to join the just concluded first round matches after it won the berth at a WBC qualifying round held in November 2012.
Also, Taiwan's roster was not as glamorous as other teams that have many active Major League Baseball players.
Some even cast doubt over the abilities of the two biggest names on the team, former New York Yankees ace Chien-Ming Wang (王建民) and former Los Angeles Dodgers setup man Kuo Hong-chih (郭泓志). “Could still deliver?” it was asked.
But the nation's excellent performance in Taichung has once again proved to the world that the national team from the small island country is as good as other baseball powerhouses around the globe thanks to their phenomenal team spirit.
During the past few games, we witnessed how the team worked together as one to achieve the challenging task of advancing, along the way competing against the Netherlands, Australia and South Korea.
We saw that every member of the 28-man roster did their part in the games and no one complained about too little playing time under the leadership of team manager Hsieh Chang-heng. (謝長亨)