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September 20, 2017

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Taiwanese tennis star Lu throws 1st pitch for Mets to lure in crowds

NEW YORK--Taiwanese tennis ace Lu Yen-hsun threw the opening pitch at a New York Mets home game in the Big Apple Saturday, just one of many arrangements intended to bring U.S. tourists to Taiwan through song, dance and sports.

The world No. 34 made his debut on the pitcher's mound at the game between the Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field as part of the Taiwan Heritage Night events initiated by the Tourism Bureau.

Lu followed in the footsteps of former top-ranked Taiwanese golfstar Yani Tseng and Oscar-winning Taiwanese-American director Ang Lee, who were invited to throw out the opening pitch at Citi Field in 2012 and 2011 respectively.

As part of the events to increase Taiwan's visibility through baseball — one of the most watched sports in the U.S. — performances by religious groups and musicians were put on outside the stadium.

New York-based Taiwanese choreographer Chen Yung-li led her troupe in dances unique to Taiwan's indigenous tribes, while members of the New York chapter of a Hualien County Taoist temple performed as Taiwan's Techno Prince, a Taoist religious icon decked out in sunglasses who dances to techno music.

The shows were rounded out with performances by a pair of Taiwanese sisters playing the erhu, a traditional Chinese stringed instrument, attracting crowds of interested onlookers.

Meanwhile, Oh! Bear, the Tourism Bureau mascot inspired by the indigenous Formosan black bear, ran around the stadium hand-in-hand with the Mets' mascot, Mr. Mets.

The huge screen at the Citi Field also flashed Taiwan's latest short film promoting travel to the country.

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