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Parties planned for Wang's first majors start in two years

2011/07/29 19:46:40

Taipei, July 29 (CNA) Baseball fans in the Taipei area have the option of getting up early on Saturday to enjoy an exciting live broadcast of Washington Nationals pitcher Chien-Ming Wang's first MLB start in two years, complete with free treats.

Citizens have been invited to gather at Taipei City Hall to watch a live stream of the Nationals home game against the New York Mets live at 7 p.m. EST (7 a.m. Taiwan time), Taipei city government announced Friday.

The city government will co-host a "party" that begins at 6 a.m. for fans to cheer for the Taiwanese right-hander in front of a large screen as three local sports channels will also begin their broadcasts.

Fans are encouraged to support Wang with body painting or posters, said the city sports office. Fifteen Nationals jerseys will be given away to the most creative displays.

The first 150 people to arrive at the event will also be offered free breakfast.

New Taipei City will throw a similar party as well to celebrate the Taiwanese star's highly-anticipated return to the majors.

The 31-year-old pitcher has not appeared on a Major League mound since pitching for the New York Yankees against the Toronto Blue Jays on July 4, 2009, when he felt something wrong with his right shoulder.

Wang had surgery to repair a torn shoulder capsule later that month but has struggled to recover since then, missing all of the 2010 season. Despite the long period of inactivity, the Tainan native remains immensely popular in Taiwan.

"I am just very excited because it will have been exactly two years tomorrow since I got injured," Wang said. "And there were many ups and downs during my rehabilitation. I am just very happy to be able to pitch like this."

During his career with the New York Yankees, Wang had a 6-5 record against National League teams with a 3.87 ERA.

There is no guarantee he will return to his pre-injury form.

Taiwan's TV stations have been broadcasting MLB games since the 2006 Cy Young runner-up's career peaked with 19 wins during that season.

When Wang pitched in a game between the Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles on September 28, 2006, to bag the 19th win, the Public Television Service, which broadcasted the game, hit record ratings in its eight-year history.

(By Kendra Lin)