Taiwan launches world's only baseball season amid COVID-19 (updated)

04/12/2020 06:15 PM
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Home team Chinatrust Brothers sing the national anthem of Taiwan at Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium. Taiwan is the first country in the world to start its baseball season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Home team Chinatrust Brothers sing the national anthem of Taiwan at Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium. Taiwan is the first country in the world to start its baseball season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Taipei, April 12 (CNA) Taiwan's baseball season, the only one scheduled anywhere in the world during the COVID-19 pandemic, got off the ground in Taichung on Sunday after the first two games were postponed over the weekend due to bad weather.

The visiting Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions won the game 4-1 with three runs in the top of the 11th inning in front of empty stands against the CTBC Brothers at Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium.

The Brothers started southpaw Ariel Miranda, who went five innings and gave up one run on three hits, while Lions starter Ryan Feierabend pitched 5 1/3 innings and gave up a run on four hits. Neither figured in the decision.

Miranda is a former Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher who played for the Baltimore Orioles and Seattle Mariners 2015 to 2018. 

Feierabend played for the MLB's Seattle Mariners from 2006-2008, the Texas Rangers in 2014, and the Toronto Blue Jays in 2019.

CTBC Brothers southpaw Ariel Miranda (left) / Photo courtesy of Taiwan
CTBC Brothers southpaw Ariel Miranda (left) / Photo courtesy of Taiwan's Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL)
CTBC Brothers southpaw Ariel Miranda (left)
CTBC Brothers southpaw Ariel Miranda (left)
Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions starting pitcher Ryan Feierabend
Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions starting pitcher Ryan Feierabend

The CPBL season had been scheduled to start Saturday with a game between the Brothers and the Rakuten Monkeys in Taoyuan, but that contest and another game Sunday between the Fubon Guardians and the Monkeys were both postponed due to heavy rain.

The opening of the baseball season in Taiwan has attracted heavy international media attention, as it is being held at a time when professional sports around the world have practically come to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Richard Wang (王雲慶), World Baseball Softball Confederation's Asia correspondent, told CNA that a baseball season means Taiwan is still able to have a normal way of life.

"We are very lucky that Taiwan can have a baseball season, and at the same time, it also reflects the solid achievements by the government in coronavirus prevention," Wang said.

He said that through baseball, Taiwan can show the world how well it has done in its coronavirus prevention efforts.

World Baseball Softball Confederation
World Baseball Softball Confederation's Asia correspondent Richard Wang (王雲慶, left)

"At the same time, we can encourage and motivate the world to believe that problems can be overcome," Wang said.

The CPBL, which was founded in 1989, may not have the extensive history of the MLB of North America, but it certainly provides quality baseball for international fans, he added.

The 2020 regular season will run until Oct. 14, with a total of 240 games scheduled, according to the CPBL website. The other team in the CPBL is the Yunlin-based Wei Chuan Dragons.

Empty stands at Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium
Empty stands at Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium
The Passion Sisters (熱情姊妹), the cheerleading squad of the CTBC Brothers pose for photos
The Passion Sisters (熱情姊妹), the cheerleading squad of the CTBC Brothers pose for photos
Chinatrust Brothers cheerleading squad support their home team
Chinatrust Brothers cheerleading squad support their home team
CTBC Brothers cheerleading squad with their team
CTBC Brothers cheerleading squad with their team's mascot cheer for their home team at Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium

(By William Yen)

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