CORONAVIRUS/Fans flock to New Taipei baseball game after relaxed restrictions

05/15/2020 10:27 PM
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In the Fubon Guardians
In the Fubon Guardians' home stadium in New Taipei

Taipei, May 15 (CNA) Some 1,720 fans flocked to a baseball game played in New Taipei on Friday, one day after Taiwan's professional baseball league began relaxing its restrictions by allowing more fans into stadiums and letting them eat and drink while watching the games.

The match was between the Fubon Guardians and Rakuten Monkeys at Xinzhuang Baseball Stadium in the northern Taiwan city.

All of the infield seats were sold out, Fubon Guardians deputy manager Chen Chao-ju (陳昭如) said, explaining that the lifting of food restrictions at stadiums had helped boost audience turnout.

On Thursday, Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) gave the green light for the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) to allow more fans to attend games played at local stadiums starting Friday, increasing the maximum attendance from 1,000 to 2,000.

The CECC approved boxed meals to be made available for purchase at games, and special seating arrangements not bound by social distancing restrictions were also allowed at stadiums for families.

This also helped boost turnout as families will now be more willing to go to a baseball game because they can sit together, Chen said.

A fan surnamed Peng (彭), who took his three young children to the Xinzhuang venue, said he was happy with the relaxed restrictions because he can now keep a close eye on his children while enjoying the game with them, and they could now get food at the stadium.

Also on Friday, the Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions team was playing at home against the CTBC Brothers at the Tainan Municipal Baseball Stadium in southern Taiwan.

According to the CPBL, the game saw a lower attendance of 969 fans, but no explanation was given.

The CPBL gained international attention as the first professional baseball league in the world to start its season this year.

Taiwan's professional baseball league, which has played in empty stadiums since the beginning of the season in April due to the COVID-19 pandemic, began admitting 1,000 fans to games on May 8.

Update: the Lions won 2-1, while the visiting Rakuten Monkeys beat the home team 7-6 in New Taipei.

(By Yang Chi-fang and Ko Lin)

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