At this time last year, Taiwanese baseball was just about the only live sports happening on the planet, and as enjoyable as it was to see something that felt close to normal during the chaos of the early stages of the pandemic, the Chinese Professional Baseball League has receded to lesser global prominence now that sports are going on again around the globe.
Of course, that doesn’t mean they’re not still playing baseball in Taiwan, and morning in America means it’s baseball time across the Pacific. On Friday, there was more than just baseball to see.
Before the Rakuten Monkeys-Chinatrust Brothers game at Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium, fans saw and heard Maurizio Zavatta perform a song, “Stronger Together,” dedicated to those who have lost loved ones during the pandemic. That’s nice, but not so remarkable… except that Zavatta played the song on guitar and sang it while walking a tightrope between the right field bleachers and the main grandstand.
It’s up to you to decide whether that’s more or less impressive than Zavatta’s tightrope walk between two moving cars for a Skoda commercial, but clearly the man is very talented at this.
Meanwhile, at the other end of Taiwan, in the southern city of Tainan, the Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions had a ceremonial first pitch that raises a lot of questions answered neither by the description of “bread-themed 1st pitch ceremony,” nor by Google Translate’s interpretation of the Chinese from the CPBL’s YouTube channel, “Master Wen Shicheng, Baking Director of Uni-President Group, and Master Luo Fun from Jingying Hotel, had a good goal for the game.”
It’s not clear which man is which, but the three-foot hero roll as a bat at least makes some sense. But is that… a bread ball? And why were both a regular baseball and this mysterious orb on offer for the first pitch?
Perhaps the Futon Guardians were just as confused, because former Red Sox farmhand Teddy Stankiewicz threw his first complete game in Taiwan, striking out 10 in the Lions’ 5-1 victory.