Manager admits team wasn't ready for Cuba
CNATAIPEI--Taiwan's manager in the 2013 World Baseball Classic (WBC) admitted Sunday after a 14-0 defeat to Cuba a day earlier that his team did not prepare to play the Caribbean powerhouse.
March 11, 2013, 12:10 am TWN
“Not taking Cuba into consideration was an oversight,” Hsieh Chang-heng was quoted as saying by the Chinese-language United Daily News.
“When you face a team like Cuba, you have to have a precise pitching rotation in mind if you want to win,” he said.
Cuba was upset by the Netherlands in the opener of Taiwan's WBC second-round group in Tokyo, putting it into an elimination game against the loser of the Japan-Taiwan encounter, which ended up being Taiwan.
Acknowledging that his team did not anticipate facing Cuba when it did in the tournament, Hsieh said, “as soon as luck wasn't on our side, the result was a loss.”
Hsieh also suggested that Taiwan's international teams needed to put together their pitching staffs more carefully to be better prepared for different situations.
“We have to select different types of pitchers, including left-handers, sidearmers, submariners and even those with special out pitches,” he said.
Despite the battering Taiwan suffered at the hands of the Cubans, Hsieh hoped Taiwan's best run ever at the WBC would inject new life into the country's Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL), which has been severely tarnished by repeated game-fixing scandals over the past 15 years.
He said the fighting spirit showed by the national team in the WBC could have a profound influence on the game. “We hope to reignite everyone's passion for baseball after this tournament.”
Taiwan reached the final eight of the WBC after beating Australia and the Netherlands and losing a close game to South Korea in its first round group in Taichung.
But its WBC journey came to end in Tokyo after a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to Japan in 10 innings on Friday night and the thrashing at the hands of Cuba, which was called after 6 1/2 innings because of the 10-run mercy rule.
“I will not blame the players for the results. Our initial goal was to advance to the top eight and to play in Tokyo, and we have reached that goal,” Hsieh said.
Local baseball commentator Yang Ching-lung said the Taiwanese players should not be blamed because they gave their best, while commentator Chung Chung-tsai said that although the two losses were tough on the players, there was a lot to learn from the experience.
Chung encouraged young Taiwanese players to set personal goals for their careers, which he said could push them to improve.
Peng Cheng-min, captain of Taiwan's national team at the WBC and a CPBL star for the past 12 years, said he believed that “the fans are coming back.”
“Many players in Taiwan are working very hard. We hope the tournament can revive the baseball vibe in Taiwan,” the 34-year-old said. Peng said previously that the tournament would be the last time he would represent his country in international play.