Monday, December 22, 2014

Chinese Baseball Year in Review

Before I leave for Taiwan, I just want to give a run down on what happened this year. Overall, it was considered a great year for baseball in China. Not a lot of winning, but a lot of progress...

  • Back in March, Rawlings Sporting Goods Company signed a 6 year deal with China Baseball Association establishing themselves as the official equipment sponsor in Chinese professional baseball. They are also committed in helping the game develop in China. Win-win for both sides, so there's that.
  • After the league was cancelled in 2011, the China Baseball League was set to relaunch in May, but was postponed due to the inability to reach an agreement with sporting venues. In fact, it was delayed not once, but twice so far up the anal sphincter that they finally reached a deal to relaunch in October. They only played a total of 15 games, but a fair amount of fans came out to support the league. Baseball still baseball!
  • At the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, the Chinese national baseball team finished 4th behind Korea, Taiwan and Japan. Like usual, they always beat the lower ranking teams, but can't beat the top three. 4 is an unlucky number in Chinese, so next time they will try and finish 8th. I kid...
  • And finally, the Bejing Tigers beat the Tianjin Lions 2 games to 1 to become the 2014 CBL champion. RHP Yang Hai Fang was the breakout star of the year as he single-handedly pulled a Madison Bumgarner to beat the Lions. I hope he gets the attention he deserves, and best of luck to the kid. 
There are also some minor notes I would like to include:
  • The CBL will go back to 6 teams next season, but I would need to validate that when they release more information next year. Hopefully, no delays again.
  • A lot of meetings going on recently about the reinstatement of baseball in the summer Olympic games. That would be great news for international baseball, but I doubt China would qualify for that unless they host again. 
  • A lot of crappy news going on for the CPBL. They lost a lot of fans from an awful television deal, while the Popcorn Amateur League gained some popularity. I've been a fan of CPBL for a while, I would hate to see it fold...
  • There are currently no mainland Chinese players playing professional baseball in the US. 2007 was the last time some players were signed, but never played a single game. Maybe next year!
  • Speaking of Chinese players, there are hybrid Chinese in the MLB such as Kolten Wong, Vance Worley, and Bruce Chen. Hope they stop by and give me a holla! Best of luck to them!
Can you believe the year is almost over? Once again, I want to thank all the people who've been reading my blog. I never expected to get more than 1000 hits and I couldn't have done it without the help of a few passionate bloggers. Shout out to Mr. Simon Collins of SpartsLikeUs and Mr. Dan Glickman of The Baseball Continuum. I will continue to contribute as much as I can, but I need to improve on a couple of things:
  • Delivering news in a timely matter, and work on my translating skills.
  • Work on my writing, it's not my strong point. I should read more books...
  • Be more persistent in getting information from Chinese players or people in the business. Gotta play hard!
  • Reach out to more bloggers, and build a better connection. 
As for me, it's been a rollercoaster year overall. On a personal level, things didn't go the way I wanted to, but I'm blessed that my friends and family were there for me. I love them so much. I also got into nursing school, which takes up a lot of my time. I met a lot of wonderful people there, and I'm happy I took this path in my career. I would be lying if I said I didn't want to work for MLB, but hey you never know!

Anyway thank you so much for reading and have a great new year. The best has yet to come! I will leave you guys with a cheesy quote~

"If you take responsibility for yourself you will develop a hunger to accomplish your dreams." - Les Brown

Until then, Ciao!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Hey Everybody!

How's it going everybody?! Sorry for the lack of update, I've been busy with school. Just a few things I want to share:

Ever since starting this blog, I wanted to contact Chinese baseball players and share some in-depth information about the development of baseball. So far, I haven't gotten any luck yet...I do feel discouraged when my e-mails or messages don't get a reply. It's kinda like when you can't get a date with a girl you like (right?). But! I'm not going to give up! Eventually, someone will say yes... someone...

Also, I want to thank all the readers of Chinese Baseball. I never really thought anyone would read this blog, but I'm happy I made a bit of a difference in the world of baseball!

And finally, I will be going to Taiwan next week. I will try to visit the Taiwan Baseball Hero Exhibit and get some pictures taken. Too bad there's no CPBL games during winter time.

Once again, thank you for reading and have a nice day! I will be back in January with more baseball news! 謝謝! 新年快樂!


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

2014 National Baseball Championship, WBC Update

I just recently found out about this 2014 National Baseball Championship (2014年全国棒球冠军杯赛), which starts November 26th to December 3rd. Like usual, there aren't any coverage at all, and the only info I found was from Baidu forums. The tournament will be among seven teams: Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Guangdong, Henan, Jiangsu and Sichuan. I'm not sure how single round robin works with seven teams, but that's going to be the format. Also, the venue will be at Guangzhou Olympic Sports Center. Here's the schedule of the tournament!

Date
Game
Match
Time
11/26/14


1
Henan --- Beijing
9:00 AM
2
Sichuan --- Jiangsu
1:30 PM
3
Shanghai --- Guangdong
6:00 PM
11/27/14


4
Tianjin --- Henan
9:00 AM
5
Shanghai --- Beijing
1:30 PM
6
Guangdong --- Jiangsu
6:00 PM
11/28/14


7
Sichuan --- Tianjin
9:00 AM
8
Jiangsu --- Beijing
1:30 PM
9
Henan --- Shanghai
6:00 PM
11/29/14


10
Guangdong --- Sichuan
9:00 AM
11
Jiangsu --- Henan
1:30 PM
12
Shanghai --- Tianjin
6:00 PM
12/1/14


13
Jiangsu --- Shanghai
9:00 AM
14
Guangdong --- Tianjin
1:30 PM
15
Beijing --- Sichuan
6:00 PM
12/2/14


16
Jiangsu --- Tianjin
9:00 AM
17
Henan --- Sichuan
1:30 PM
18
Beijing --- Guangdong
6:00 PM
12/3/14


19
Sichuan --- Shanghai
9:00 AM
20
Henan --- Guangdong
1:30 PM
21
Beijing --- Tianjin
6:00 PM

Anyway, I won't be updating the scores like CBL. I'll just post about the winner when the time comes. 

In other news, Robert Manfred, the new commissioner of MLB, spoke about the possibility of adding more teams in the qualifying round in WBC. You can read the interview here, which also talks about a possible 2016 opening day in Japan. I'm all for adding more countries, but MLB has to do a better job in marketing the WBC. They need to get Mike Trout, Bryce Harper or Clayton Kershaw to play for Team USA to make it matter for Americans!

That's it for today, Happy Thanksgiving again and enjoy the holiday!

Update 12/5:
Sorry for the lack of update. I will be back very soon! If you're interested in finding out the results to the National Baseball Championship, this thread here provides a bit of a summary. It's the only thing I could find. Hope you all enjoy the weekend and think about baseball 24/7!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Baseball in Xinjiang

(Don't mess with me!)
I've been doing some digging and found a documentary about baseball in Xinjiang called "Diamond in the Dunes." Unfortunately, their main website is down, but I found a preview from WorldChannel. If anyone can tell me more about this or a link where I can watch it sooner, please leave a message!

As you may know, Xinjiang is an autonomous region of northwestern China and is populated by the Uyghur people. Not going to go all political here, but a lot of civil unrest going on there because of racial segregation and conformity (I'm no expert). Guess what solves some of the civil disputes?! The good old game of baseball! I would like to leave an inspiring quote, but whatever. Baseball rules!

Anyway, I hope everyone enjoys their Thanksgiving week. If you're not from the US, have a great week as well! Thanks for reading and have a great time!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Meet the Guiyang Foresters! 贵阳森林人棒球队

Let me introduce the Guiyang Foresters (贵阳森林人棒球队), an amateur baseball club located in Guizhou province.



Since being established in 2009, they have recruited over 30 members to the club. They welcome all backgrounds, from young teenagers to people who can't even play at all. Their main goal is to provide a platform for people who loves to play baseball, but also to exchange friendships among those who are passionate about the sport (tried my best to translate!). As you can see in the pictures, they barely have any field to play on (or any baseball field it seems). If you want to join them or get to know the city better, here's their schedule and contact info:

Guiyang Medical College Soccer Field 贵阳中医学院足球场 - Every day from 10 AM -12 PM.
Guizhou University 贵州大学 - Every Sunday 11 AM to 5 PM
Contact Info: QQ group - 34085177

Just some little things about Guiyang...

I had the privilege to visit this wonderful city last year. It's very cold during the winter time, but the climate is great during spring and summer. Most people probably don't know where Guiyang is. If you ask someone to point it out on the map, they'll probably just laugh awkwardly. Also, Guiyang is an up and coming city. A lot of development and construction projects going on there and we'll probably see a lot of skyscrapers in the near future. Besides having great spicy food, hot pot, goose noodles and famous hot springs, it has an amateur baseball team! Kudos to the Guiyang Foresters for spreading the game they love. Hope more and more people will notice baseball there!

Anyway, I want to congratulate Taiwan for winning the under 21 Baseball World Cup. They beat Japan 9-0 to take home the gold medal. In case you haven't noticed, my family is from Taiwan and Hong Kong, but no political stuff here! Thanks for reading and have a great day!  福氣啦!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

History of China Baseball, Why MLB isn't popular in China yet...

Not much going on in China baseball recently, but a lot of other stuff....

Taiwan has been whooping mules in the under 21 Baseball World Cup, and MLB got no hitted by Japan in the All-Star Series. Oh yeah, and Robinson Cano has a fractured pinky toe. Anyways...

I recently found an interesting academic journal about Chinese baseball history called
"Bangqiu: MLB's Role in Baseball's Comeback in the People's Republic of China." It was written by Dr. Sean Mclaughlin from University of Wisconsin and Dr. Jie Gao of Carroll University. I'm not sure if anyone can view it without account or anything, but you can access it through public library or from a university (sorry about that!). If you like, I previously wrote a short history of baseball in China, which you can read here.

Anyway, just a couple of interesting things I like to point out about the journal. During the Nixon era, the administration didn't choose to promote baseball in China for improving diplomatic ties. What a bummer! Think about all the "What ifs?" in China baseball today. Also, around 4 million people are playing baseball in China today. That's an impressive number compared to 20 years ago (300 million playing basketball, just saying!). Still a lot of work to do, but progress is progress, right?!

Which brings me to the point, do people give MLB way too much credit for something that hasn't happened yet in China? If you Google about China baseball, almost every article writes about how baseball is on a rise in China, which isn't really true...Let me point out some things MLB hasn't done yet (Just my personal dumb opinion, no facts to back me up). 

Most important thing MLB hasn't established yet is attractiveness. What makes baseball better than basketball and soccer? They are both so easy to play and it only requires one ball. While in baseball, there are confusing rules, need 18 players in the field, and it requires lots of equipment. So far, they are only busy trying to find baseball's Yao Ming, which might magically make baseball popular. 

Second thing is understanding the demographics. I appreciate all the Play Ball and MLB College Club programs they've started in big cities, but it doesn't automatically mean it'll be more popular than rural areas. If you look at Dominican Republic, kids want to get out of poverty by becoming baseball stars. Maybe they should invest in rural areas and give hope to kids living in poverty. 

Third thing is connecting with the community. How can MLB integrate the game of baseball in people's lives?  In the US, they help fund cancer research here, and donate to charities. If you want to be part of the community, maybe they can help provide school supplies to kids who need it in China, or open a charity organization to help families. 

They are just random possibilities I thought of with no research, I also don't have a complete understanding of the culture in Mainland China. I was born here, so there's that...If you must criticize, please hand it to me!

Before I go, I just want to tell you why I love baseball. If you ever seen Ken Burn's Baseball, you'll see why its truly the people's game. In basketball or soccer, only the most athletic players make the team. In baseball, many players are flawed, but they overcome them. You can be the slowest runner, but the best hitter. You have the weakest arm, but can make incredible catches. You strikeout a lot, but you can hit the big one when it counts the most! What I'm trying to say is, all the aspect of a player can be related to a common person's life. We make mistakes, we do dumb things, and we're not perfect, but we make up for it by showing our strengths. Besides that, I also love statistics, but that's nerdy stuff. Anyway, thanks for reading and have a great night!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Weekend Roundup, Other News!

Hey, everybody! It's been a week since the CBL season ended, but I just wanted to give a few updates about what's going on in the world of baseball.

If you haven't checked it out yet, the CBA official website put up the box scores from the championship series. Here is also a chart showing the top performers of the season:
Property of CBL
Wang Jing Chao (王靖超), the IF from Tianjin Lions lead the league with a .542 batting average, going 13-24 with 8 runs and 11 RBIs. The 26 year old was originally signed by the Yokohama Bay Stars in 2009, but never made it to the main team. Too bad I don't know how to calculate wins above replacement, but he's probably up there!

The top pitcher is none other than Beijing Tigers pitcher Yang Hai Fan (楊海帆). The 20 year old went 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA. He also pitched 30.2 innings with 25 strikeouts. The amazing thing was that he pitched a total of 14 innings to beat the Lions for the championship. He logged a lot of innings in a short period of time, so I hope his arm doesn't fall off in the future. Without a doubt, he is one of the top pitchers to follow in China, along with LHP Li Xin (李鑫). There isn't a scouting report out or anything, but he did pitch decently against Japan during the Asian Games. I wish nothing but luck to this kid! 加油!

Other News

The Japan All-Star Series will be starting Wednesday on November 12th. Here is the full roster for Team MLB and Team Japan (Thanks to people from Reddit). It'll be the first time since 2006 that MLB All-Stars will play in the series. Just a few pointers:
  • Few big names such as Robinson Cano, Jose Altuve and Evan Longoria will be going, but the rest is kind of... not so All-Star. You would expect Mike Trout or Clayton Kershaw to join in the fun, but I guess that's the best MLB can do. I'm kind of disappointed, but I understand the risk of injury and players being tired after the long season. Perhaps, they can learn a thing or two from NBA promoting the game internationally. 
  • The Japanese team is stacked with young exciting players such as Shohei Otani and Tetsuto Yamada. Otani has been on MLB's radar for a while and had a breakout year. He can throw gas and hit the ball pretty well too. On the other hand, 22 year old Yamada also had a break out year, hitting .324 with 29 homeruns and 89 RBIs.
Also, the under 21 Baseball World Cup started a few days ago. You can read all about it here, and maybe catch a few online streamed games as well. China isn't playing in the tournament, so I won't be updating much about it (or at all). 

And finally, a touching movie that I found out about yesterday. "The Only Real Game" is about baseball being played in Manipur, which is a war torn place in Eastern India. I also can't wait to see the movie "Kano", which is about the Taiwanese team that went on to Koshien high school tournament in the 1920s. 

Before I leave, I've added a few blogs to the blogroll!
  • Sparts Like Us - neat blog by Simon Collins. He's the international scorekeeper from baseball leagues around the world. 
  • The Baseball Continuum - another neat blog about international baseball. Love the simple design! 
Anyway, thanks for reading and have a great night! What's the meaning of life? Baseball!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Beijing Tigers Win The 2014 CBL Championship Series!

Congratulations to the Beijing Tigers for winning the 2014 CBL championship series. They beat the Tianjin Lions 2 games to 1 to become the first champion after the league's restart.

Property of CBL
Property of CBL

If anyone is interested, the CBL weibo account has posted the box scores for the first 12 games (well..their only 12 games). Anyway, here are the brief recaps for the CBL championship series:

Game 1: Beijing Tigers 2, Tianjin Lions 1 - 10 Innings
According to CBL's weibo, Tiger's pitcher Yang Hai Fan pitched a hell of a game against the Lions. The Lions had many scoring opportunities, but failed to close the door on the Tigers. It was veteran Wang Wei who knocked in the winning run for the Tigers in extra innings. Again, they don't have any official box score for the game yet. It will probably be posted a few days after the championship game.

Game 2: Tianjin Lions 6, Beijing Tigers 0
The Lions came back with a satisfying victory against the Tigers as veteran pitcher Su Changlong lead the team with a shutout. I guess it was the uniforms the day before that made the Lions lose. Here's the summary of what happened. It has pictures!

Game 3: Beijing Tigers 3, Tianjin Lions 2
The Tigers took an early lead of 2 to 0, but the Lions answered back in the 7th with one run. The Lions had the based loaded in the 8th, but didn't score. The Tigers then answered back with a run on the bottom of the 8th. The Lions scored again in the 9th by an error, but the Tigers hold on for the championship. Kind of like the World Series, Yang Hai Fan came in and shut things down like Madison Bumgarner!

So there you have it, the 2014 CBL season comes to an end after 12 regular season games and 3 playoff games. Here are more pictures from on the the player's weibo! Three things I like to point out about the season:

  1. I think the season was okay considering all the delays it had earlier in the season. The estimated attendance for the 12 games were 4,690, averaging 40-1000 people per game (got the numbers from the box scores).  Again, most people don't understand the rules and think it's boring, so it'll take some hard work and time to get more interest!
  2. Speaking of coverage, it's hard to find any kind of media that can actually cover baseball in China. A lot of people from Baidu doesn't actually know if the game was broadcast live or not( I don't know myself). Many fans relied on the microblogging coverage from weibo or live feed from Baidu's baseball forum. Also, the way people write about baseball is different from how they write it in the States. My guess is that the league is short, and individual statistics aren't as emphasized as it is here. It's a team game after all, right?! Oh yeah, and no video clips!
  3. The uniforms were way better than the ones they used back then. Style matters!
Anyway, I really hope the CBL launches an official website next year. Things would be a lot easier for people like me to read if they didn't use a microblogging platform. There are a lot of things to improve, but can't really complain. It's been fun following the league! What's left in baseball to follow? There's still the KBO championship going on and the upcoming Japan vs. MLB All-star series.

Thanks for reading and have a great day! Don't worry, I'll keep updating! Baseball is around everyday no matter what! It's part of our lives!

Update 11/3:
As expected, Yang Hai Fan was voted as the MVP and the best pitcher of CBL. You can read all about it here, which also gives the ranking for each teams.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Beijing Tigers Vs. Tianjin Lions Preview

First off, congratulations to the San Francisco Giants on winning their 3rd World Series title in the last 5 years. Personally, I was rooting for the Kansas City Royals, but gotta give props to Madison Bumgarner (the savior) for winning it for the Giants. If you watched the playoffs this year, it was full of passion and fire, especially from the Royals. That's how baseball should be played. I hope more and more people see baseball for what it is instead of some boring old men's game. Anyway, here's the promotional poster for the CBL championship game!

(Like a movie!)

It will be the Beijing Tigers Vs. the Tianjin Lions for the CBL championship in a best of 3 series. The official CBA website has a preview on both teams, which favors the Lions. In 6 games, Lions pitching only gave up 7 runs with a team ERA of 1.31 and 51 strikeouts! Well, they do have Li Xin and Li Zi Liang who are considered top pitchers of CBL. On the other side, the Tigers do have 20 year old Yang Hai Fan (my personal favorite). He pitched a complete game shutout against Jiangsu Pegasus the last time he pitched. Anyway, here's the schedule again:

Date
Game
Time CST
Match
Venue
October 31
1
11:00 AM
Bejing Vs. Tianjin
Tianjin
November 1
2
11:00 AM
Tianjin Vs. Beijing
Beijing
November 2
3
11:00 AM
Tianjin Vs. Beijing
Beijing

Prediction: Lions in 2! 

Hope everyone enjoys their weekend. I'll update the score as soon as I find out! Thanks for reading and 再見!

Monday, October 27, 2014

CBL Week 2 Results, Lamigo Monkeys Win The Taiwan Series, RIP Oscar Taveras...

First off, congratulations to the Lamigo Monkeys winning the 2014 CPBL Taiwan Series. They beat the Chinatrust Brother Elephants 4 games to 1. Long time veteran Chen Chin Feng might announce his retirement after this year. I've been following him with Chien Ming Wang and Hong Chih Kuo since mid 2000s. Good luck to wherever he goes!

Anyway, here are the scores for this week's CBL games and pictures:


North
Beijing Tigers (5-1)
Jiangsu Pegasus (1-5)
10/24/14
2
9
10/25/14
1
0
10/26/14
8
5
South
Tianjin Lions (6-0)
Guangdong Leopards (0-6)
10/24/14
13
0
10/25/14
15
1
10/26/14
4
1


Image credit: szlaose
Image credit: szlaose
Image credit: szlaose
I apologize again for not having a boxscore or anything, but I do have some recap in ChineseThe Jiangsu Pegasus finally won a game. I can't imagine if they swept the Beijing Tigers with three games a piece. Who will advance to the championship game? I guess they never thought of that! Also, our favorite pitcher Yang Haifan who pitched fairly well in the Asian Games, pitched a complete game shutout with 11 strikeouts against Jiangsu. Hopefully, the 20 year old sensation will turn some heads oversea and earn a minor league deal either in Taiwan, Japan or the States!

On the other side of town, Tianjin Lions completely destroyed the Guangdong Leopards again. They will finish the season as the top team of the league (obviously). They will face the Tigers for the championship game next week starting October 31st. 


Also, there's an interesting article on the promotion of baseball in China. Former player Sun Ling Feng talks about his experience over the years trying to promote baseball through rough times. Basically, after beating Taiwan in WBC 09, things haven't worked out the way they wanted and baseball did not explode in China. But the effort is still there and alive. I'm with you Sun Ling Feng!

Alright! Before I go, I would like to pay my respect to Oscar Taveras. Today, the 22 year old outfielder of the St. Louis Cardinals died in a car accident with his girlfriend in Dominican Republic. He was a young and exciting player coming up the system. I can't believe people can just disappear with a blink of an eye. Always live life the fullest with no regret and dream big...RIP. Thanks for reading and have a good night.