We went to our first Taiwanese Baseball game a little over a week ago. It is a unique experience, but maybe more so from my perspective.
When you work with a MLB organization you grow accustomed to how a baseball game is supposed to operate. The game in Taiwan is the same game with the same rules, but the spectacle is quite different. I have limited myself to five of the differences of professional baseball in Taiwan versus Major League Baseball in the States.
- No Security checks. None. There were tables set up at the entrances with employees and as I got ready to open my purse they checked our ticket and waved us through. That’s it. You can bring in your own drinks (including alcohol) and food.
- Noise, Noise, & more Noise. I can confidently say that I am familiar with the structure and rules of an MLB baseball game. The batter of the home team has his walk up song after the announcer says his name and then the music or sound effects stop until there is a break in the game. A cue of sorts for you to pay attention to the game. In Taiwan, there is no break of noise, at all. From the announcer introducing the batter, to the ball in play, the music and chanting do not stop. At first I missed some of the plays because I have been trained that when the in-house noise stops the game resumes. You have to embrace the noise, or you will never see the game! There was a band section… yes, like high school and college football band section! Again, as someone who has been to different sporting events the last 30+ years this addition to a baseball game is confusing. Not to mention the cheerleaders.
- Team Loyalty Seating. Our friend is a fan of the Taipei Brothers, so apparently when you buy tickets they ask you who you are rooting for, so you can sit in the correct section for cheering. Yes, in the States the other team will inevitably have fans, some days for the Mariners it seemed there were more fans for the other team, but this was a structured us versus them layout. We of-course were determined to cheer for the opposite team of our friend just for fun. D received a few dirty looks from some of the children rooting for the Brothers during the game clearly disgusted that we had infiltrated their side. It was very funny! In true Asia fashion each team bowed to their fans win or lose at the conclusion of the game.
- Four team League. Hey guess what my team is in the playoffs!… I mean I am not even sure which team is the closest to us, but with only four teams in the league it only makes sense that they all go to the playoffs. The CPBL (Chinese Professional Baseball League) is not to be confused with China baseball league of mainland China these teams are only on the island.
- Food. There is your traditional popcorn and hot dog fare, but how about wrapping that hot dog in a green onion pancake? Or serving it with a side of stinky tofu on a stick? Fried quail eggs anyone? Ballpark food was similar to night market food even down to the stall set up for the food distribution. Beer is more expensive at the game, which is the same in the U.S. but it is still cheap. The presentation for buying a beer at the game was also humorous. Nothing like bins full of ice like you are at the family BBQ, but not.
All and all a fun experience. I took lots of random video clips, including one that is an ode to my Mariners groundscrew family, and I have narrowed down a few photos, so I will post them en mass now. Miss you all and can’t wait to see a game in Seattle this summer!
**P.S. we are headed to Hong Kong for the long weekend, but I am still catching up on my blog posts about Tokyo! 🙂 Stay tuned for more adventures soon 😉