Kuo shows up in Lions' home stadium for first time
By Joy Lee,The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Former Taiwanese Major League pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo (郭泓志) yesterday showed up in local professional team Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions (統一獅)'s home stadium in Tainan for the first time after joining the team.
October 6, 2013, 12:08 am TWN
Kuo ended his 14-year journey in the United States as a pitcher and returned to Taiwan earlier this week to join the Lions with a record-high three-year contract plus incentives that are worth NT$40.8 million.
Kuo entered the stadium with his fellow teammates and was introduced as a new teammate to the Lions.
When being asked to make a speech to his new team, Kuo showed his tattoos on his arms that read “faith” and “goal.”
“The tattoos remind me that once I set a goal for myself, I have to believe that I can accomplish it,” said Kuo.
Kuo said that he was a ball boy at the Tainan baseball stadium when he was a junior high school student and he had some opportunities to practice in this stadium before important games when he was in high school.
“Entering into this stadium again triggered a lot of memories and feelings for me,” said Kuo.
“I am happy to have the chance to play baseball games in my hometown,” said Kuo. “And my main task now is to cheer for the team and stay healthy.”
According to league rules, Kuo will not be able to take part in the remaining games of this season, but he could make his debut in the Chinese Professional Baseball League's (CPBL, 中華職棒) winter league, which is scheduled to kick off this November.
The Lions gave up the first three rounds of next year's draft picks in order to have Kuo join the team. The leader of the Lions said that having Kuo as part of the team is a great investment.
The 32-year-old was signed as a free agent by the Dodgers in 1999 following high school, and has spent the past decade pitching in the United States.
Kuo was one of the National League's top relievers during 2008-10 with the Dodgers and earned an All-Star berth in 2010 when he posted a 1.20 ERA with 73 strikeouts in 60 innings.
He is also the first Taiwanese player ever to play in MLB's All Star Game and the first to hit a home run in the MLB even though he is a pitcher.