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June 27, 2017

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Long-awaited pregame jet flyover a win-win for fans

A pre-sporting event involving a flyover by military jets, hotly anticipated by local sports fans, is finally about to happen. Taiwan's military announced Tuesday a collaboration with a local professional baseball team that will make the flyover possible.

In a joint press conference Tuesday, local Chinese Professional Baseball League's (CPBL, 中華職棒) Lamigo Monkeys, and the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said special celebration events are scheduled to be staged during today's games at the Monkey's home stadium, the Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium, to honor R.O.C. service personnel ahead of Sept. 3, Taiwan's Armed Forces Day.

The series of special events includes an Air Force jet flyover — featuring five Mirage 2000s — above the stadium before a CPBL regular season game, according to Huang Kai-shen (黃開森), deputy head of the MND's Political Warfare Bureau.

As part of the celebrations, the national anthem will be sung and there will be performances by Army Special Forces before the game between the Monkeys and the EDA Rhinos, Huang said.

All members of the Lamigo Monkeys will also be wearing special camouflage-patterned baseball jerseys at the game.

The China Post would like to give credit to both the MND and the Lamigo Monkeys for making the pregame gesture.

Once realized, it will mark the first time in R.O.C. history that such a ceremony has been held.

It has long been a ritual at major sporting events in the U.S., including Major League Baseball, the Rose Bowl and NASCAR races.

Local baseball fans have been anticipating a ritual that can put an exclamation point behind pregame ceremonies as well as spark a surge of patriotism among spectators.

The timing for holding such a ceremony is also perfectly chosen as it coincides with the annual Armed Forces Day which pays tribute to the tens of thousands of military personnel that safeguard the nation.

It will also be a perfect publicity stunt to help Taiwan's military reach out to ordinary people, giving Taiwanese an opportunity to see their aircraft in action and possibly boosting recruitment efforts.

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