Someone please tell me why Baseball is popular in Taiwan

What fun is there in baseball? it is not physical, no technique involved, anyone can become a pro from 3 hours training…

Pardon my ignorance but I just don’t get it… :noway:

[quote=“songzzz”]What fun is there in baseball? it is not physical, no technique involved, anyone can become a pro from 3 hours training…

Pardon my ignorance but I just don’t get it… :noway:[/quote]
When it comes to sports, Taiwanese people are easily pleased.

Beats cricket. Those guys can’t even throw the ball over the plate without it hitting the ground. And what’s with the switching pitchers thing? Are they so wimpy they can’t pitch by themselves for a whole inning?

The Japanese introduced it. It’s another example of the pervasive Japanese influence here.

I like it. I only wish they would show more Cardinal games.

[quote=“songzzz”]What fun is there in baseball? it is not physical, no technique involved, anyone can become a pro from 3 hours training

Pardon my ignorance but I just don’t get it… :noway:[/quote]

Brits. Sheesh. :raspberry:

North America contributed two, count them, two, erm…kohns(?) if you will, to Zen philosophy: Jazz Music (arguably begun in France) and baseball. If you can’t see that, alas, shame. There are few things harder in the world of professional sport that hitting a big league fastball. F1 Motoring and, damn if some of those X-game thangs ain’t gnarly 'nuf…heinous shit man…but I digress…

Never mind facing Pedro, Randy, Nolan or Cy.

When you know who I mean, it will be time for you to leave.

Oh, and, ummm, by the by:

I say North America, as Canada and Latin America both have long histories with the sport. A historian once told me that the 1st team to win, and I am still sure he said, “the World Series”, was from Lethbridge, Alberta. With 20-20 hindsight I would have called them [color=blue]The LA Draft-Dodgers[/color]. Oooops, sorry, DDD again. (Damn Digression Disorder) I claim only second hand knowledge of this fact. Someone more dramturgical than I can check out the validity. I was told by someone I believe would not lay claim to it if it were not otherwise true, so take that to the bank of Stew.

Not to mention Larry Walker, the pride of Maple Ridge. Wasn’t Fergie Jenkins a 'nuck too?

My poor, misguided, mushy pea-eating, rotten-toothed, old school tie-wearing, “oh, I say” saying, misinformed malcontent, you are ignorant and a troll. I know it but I felt like wasting some good prose on ya anyway. Bottom of the ninth kid, runner in scoring position, tie game. What are ya gonna do?

What are ya gonna do?

I was so :offtopic: I had to re-post.

Taiwanese like baseball cuz they used to kick ass in Little League. True to Taiwanine (sic) thinking, they were cheating.

how did they cheat?

Isn’t it funny how young an 18 year old Taiwanese man can look. Get my drift?

playing baseball is alot like rugby: it is a heck of alot more fun to play than actually watch. watching is when you are too old to play or it is too dark/inclement outside. naturally, older folks have no choice but to watch regarding the game played at the highest level. yeah in pro sports over 30 is old.

my old man doesn’t watch soccer (association football). he can’t stand it. why? he never learned to appreciate the nuances. happily, the younger generations of american can appreciate both football and soccer and increasingly rugby.

same goes for “hardball” sports: dismissing one simply because you grew up outside of its sphere of influence is simply boorish. i don’t much care for chinese opera or motor racing. why? in no small part because i have but the smallest possible understanding of the genres. would it be fair for me to dismiss chinese opera simply because of my own personal preference? no. that would be less than polite and insult the intelligence of those indoctrinated and finding pleasure in the entertainment.

cricket, once you understand it, is a joy to watch. a master batsman is a pleasure to behold. the angled bats preserve an aspect of hitting that was eliminated in the states over 100 years ago. imagine what tony gwynn or ted williams could have done with a multifaced bat. would have completely destroyed the defensive shifts against them. in america, we have “home run” teams and “small ball” teams. both work. growing up rooting for one style does not immediately disqualify the other as invalid.

the whole cricket v. baseball insulting contest is tired at best. america used to play cricket. the term “president” was lifted from the context of cricket associations. the former colonials were blackballed by england. as you can imagine, they said “fine” and continued to let the game evolve into something a bit different. having played baseball, having played cricket let me attest that they are equally enjoyable . catching a flyball is always nice. snatching a sreaming liner is even better. getting good wood on the bat, hearing the crack and taking off as fast as you can…makingyour own sporting chance at the next line/base is a great feeling. simply exhilarating. if you can’t associate with such…i feel for you.

perhaps someone’ll introduce cricket or rugby into america’s 2 million man strong penal industry. i’d love to see compton or east st.louis match-up against barbadoes or south africa. wouldn’t you? or would the long term result look too much like the last soccer/football world cup to make you happy?

competition. gotta love it. makes us all better.

How many teams compete in a baseball WorldCup? (P.S. if there is one at all)

There are various international competitions, but nothing with the flavor of World Cups in soccer, rugby or cricket. One of the problems is that US professional baseball teams do not allow their players to play in most, if not all, international competitions. Because the best players in the world play in the US, it’s hard to have a quality international competition without these professional players.

If there were a “true” baseball World Cup, the following countries would field strong teams:

Dominican Republic

Australia, Korea and Taiwan could also put out a competitive squad, but the champion would most likely come from one of the 4 countries above.

[quote]Bottom of the ninth kid, runner in scoring position, tie game. What are ya gonna do?

What are ya gonna do?
Run like a girl?

Exactly. The Japanese brought baseball culture here and it grew from those roots. Simple as that. Better question is why was baseball so popular in Japan in the first place? Why not cricket or rugby there?

Why is baseball so popular here?

Why is Rugby so popular in New Zealand? Why is Soccer so popular in Brazil? Why is Cricket so popular in India?

How is anyone supposed to be able to answer that question?!

[quote=“Tetsuo”]Why is baseball so popular here?

Why is Rugby so popular in New Zealand? Why is Soccer so popular in Brazil? Why is Cricket so popular in India?

How is anyone supposed to be able to answer that question?![/quote]

Well, I’ll give it a stab :slight_smile: Firstly, the sport either develops or is introduced. In the case of cricket, the sport is mostly played by former colonies of England, obviously. Taiwanese baseball came from Japan, who probably got it from America somehow.

Sports can then become popular in a country because the people from that country are relatively good at them (on an international level). Given the obvious size disadvantage of Asians in general (great big possibly doped-up Northern Chinese notwithstanding), the kinds of sports I’d expect to be popular are ones such as baseball, (potentially) cricket, golf, sailing, gymnastics, car racing, table tennis, pool (if these latter even count as sports) etc. because these are the only ones they really have a chance of winning at an international level :idunno: Oh, sure, sport is supposedly about the game, but I think winning has always been a big incentive :slight_smile:

There would also be other considerations such as natural terrain (general weather conditions, access to water, ice, snow etc.), ability to build facilities, general coolness :unamused: etc. as to which sports catch on.

Actually… here’s an article I read:

"Baseball buffs say that Taiwan’s introduction to the game began during the Japanese occupation of the island from 1895-1945. During this period, Japanese officials and businessmen organized regular games, and helped teach locals the rules of the game. When the Japanese left the island, local companies continued the sport by sponsoring local teams and organizing regional competition with the sport continuing at an amateur level until 1968, when the defending Little League world champs from West Tokyo, Japan, came to Taiwan to play a friendly match against the Red Leaf Primary School team in Taitung. The game would go down in history as the local group of Ami children (the Ami are an east-coast aboriginal people) toppled the defending world champions in a stunning 7-0 victory.

Making the victory even more improbable was the fact that the Red Leaf players generally did not use regular equipment, often using bamboo bats and substituting unripened guava and stones for baseballs. The triumph was a great boost for national pride, coming during a fragile period in Taiwan’s history, the rural youth becoming national heroes and inspiriting a future generation of baseball players. Soon enough, Taiwan would parlay this intitial victory into a string of Little League World Series championships, the first coming in 1969 and continuing for an improbable total of 17."

Sorry for typos, I copied the stuff down from the “History of Baseball in Taiwan: Japanese influence” section. Baseball became a national sport in 2003 when Tsao Chin-hui became the first Taiwanese pitcher to win a game in major-league baseball ( in the US).

Hope that helps… :smiley:

Fair warning: I don’t understand cricket, but I played competitive baseball for years, in the states, and I’m still a fan of the game. I do not dislike cricket, I just have never understood the game.

That said, the reason baseball is so popular with adults anywhere depends first on those who’ve played the game as youngsters. I think skeptic yank hits the nail on the head with the observation that baseball is way more fun to play than to watch.

From a player’s p.o.v., what’s not to like? Lazy times in the outfield, punctuated with fielding fly balls; this may have to do with employing, and thus activating, old, latent hunting/gathering skills and the competitive advantage that great eye/hand coordination has always endowed on the winner (but that’s just a theory that’s out of my pay grade anyway). Fielding in the infield is fun, too, and demands the same skills in addition to a keen sense of awareness. Pitching is a special skill that, at the highest level, depends far more on strategy than velocity. The strategy involves varied speed and placement, and a bit of poker, too. A well-placed bluff - a change of pace instead of a fastball - can both get the guy out and keep the next guy confused.

But the big thing, the big attraction, is batting. Baseball defense is a team sport, but baseball offense - at least batting - is just you against the guy with the ball, the pitcher. Mano a mano, as we say in the US.

As a kid, who doesn’t remember standing in, as an 8-year-old, against the 12-year-old from the block over who can maybe throw upwards of 55mph? (most professionals can throw a fastball at 88-90-95+ mph, but as a kid 60mph is a pill, boy, never forget that) At these times, the ball seems impossibly difficult to hit, the older pitcher is approaching godliness in his maturity (jeeze, they say he’s got pubes even!), and you’re so scared of getting plunked with something wicked fast and inside, maybe high even (gulp), that it’s a helluva thing. And if you get lucky, you get around on his fastball and hit it in play, and you get even luckier and get it in the bat’s sweetspot, so it goes good and long, then hey, you’re 8 goin’ on 12 then, and maybe you’ll get yer own pubes soon. This is when the emergence of the fan, later on, is guaranteed. Just like the new golfer gets hooked on golf by hitting one so-so shot in an otherwise forgettable round (but that’s the only shot s/he remembers, a truly pitiless game), the adult gets hooked on watching baseball, filtered through his or her own remembered experiences as an 8-year-old who played the game.

The adult is a fan because s/he measures the pros against himself, against the knowledge he keeps from his own playing experiences, and thus learns to see the physical difference between his own sandlot and the Hall of Fame.

As an adult who played as a kid, then, watching the pros play in an American ballpark, you intensely question these kinds of experiences: can he take second on that hit? should he take third? is that a double or should it be a triple? did the outfielder miss the cutoff and throw home instead (a sheer fool’s gambit, always)? pitchout? was that a balk? can he steal? now’s the time for a suicide squeeze, you nudge your friend.

I can remember seeing Jesse Barfield, playing right field for the Toronto Blue Jays, throw somebody, some KC Royal, out at third. Thing is, the guy had been on first when the KC batter lined a clean single to Jesse’s left, toward the first-base line, and Barfield, throwing away from the movement of his body, gunned the Royal down at third, no hop, on what should have been a routine advancement! Now that guy had an arm (as do Jerome Dye, Ichiro, and another canuck, Larry Walker). Best throw I ever saw, though, was one by Bo Jackson against the Angels: he chased down a screaming double, hit to the left-center gap and, right foot planted at the base of the outfield wall about 20-30 feet to the left field side of the 385’ mark, let rip and gunned the guy running from second down at the plate. No hop, no contest. The ball just would not come down, it knew no gravity, unbelievable. The Angel was out by 10 feet. Jackson’s throw must have travelled 375-380 feet without touching the ground. Frozen rope double, frozen rope back to home.

As players age then bone length is set and the ends harden, the ligaments and tendons in the elbow toughen up enough to allow the pitcher’s arm to take on the dual tasks of gripping a baseball hard enough while throwing it at top arm speed, together requisite in pitching a ball that curves - if the pitcher gets good coaching, that is (most don’t).

And if you can play long enough, into your twenties or so, then you get the vastly enhanced batting experience of hitting against both curveballs and fastballs. That’s where the mind becomes fully engaged and strategy comes into play. At 60’6" between pitcher’s mound and home, the thing that matters most is to never pitch two consecutive balls to the same place and never pitch two consecutive strikes at the same speed. A fastball is made way faster if it follows a slowly curving pitch or a change of pace (thrown exactly like a fastball, but the ball is kept far back in the pitcher’s hand, resting on the heel of his palm, before it’s delivered; to all but the greatest hitters, each of whom has less than one second to begin the bat’s swing, the “change of pace” looks exactly like the pitcher’s best 95mph fastball - and if he falls for it he will finish his swing, the bat resting over the hip nearest the pitcher, just as the pitcher’s change of pace makes its leisurely way over the plate - whiff). It’s all about delta speed, and delta placement, and everybody knows it, batter included.

As somebody above said, when it’s bottom of the ninth, 2 outs, down by one with a guy on second…and you are at the plate…mano a mano…your heart beats so fast that you swear it’s hammerin’ up the length of your bat as you wait on the pitch…that’s when baseball is both fun to play, and to watch.

What’s not to like? Taiwan kids, Japanese kids, Latin kids, all kids - of all ages - like that stuff, right?

New Zealand is the current holder of the Softball World Championship title, and has been since 1996. And then before that we held the title 1976-1980 and 1984-1988. We’re obviously pretty good at softball. Apparently. Yet I’ve never met a solitary person who’s played softball since primary school, and I have never, not once, seen a softball diamond. I know there’s a few other sports we kick arse at on a regular basis, but I’m buggered if I can remember which ones. Mostly because of the one important factor I think you missed: the media. If the newspapers and television and radio are paid the right amounts to get a sport publicised frequently and get it hyped up, then that sport, no matter how tedious, will probably become popular given time. I hate to sound cynical, but if the population is told they like a sport (or anything, really) often enough and fervently enough, they’ll like it eventually. Not all of them will, but the majority will.

Hitting a round ball with a round bat IS the hardest thing to do in the athletic universe.

And, a Baseball World Cup is in the works and could be here by 2006.

Go Yankees.