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Another American Sport released to China

As a sports athlete (Or at least having been an athlete a long time ago) And a fan of sports, One of the difficult things about finding myself on an extended stay in Shanghai, china based websites (Setting up sports manufacturing and other business contacts) Is the near seclusion from most American sports. Although the game of basketball, during the last ten or so years, Has become popular among the Chinese people, Baseball has yet to find its way into the sports culture here. While at every school or playground it's likely you will discover some kid aspiring to become the next Yao Ming, Mention offering "skiing" _a href= to tell if a chinese girl likes you_/a_ to the majority Chinese, Even ones who speak decent English, And you'll likely find yourself having to read a phrasebook to find the Chinese phrase for baseball: "Bangqiu" (conspicuous bong chi o).

I had heard from some of the expatriates living in Shanghai that there was kind baseball team playing in the city, So I did some Google searches to see whether I could find information about the team. To remain competitive against junior college teams. Schools against which the Eagles played, mentioned a team that had decent pitching, But not a great deal hitting.

I didn't expect much when I went to look out the team play, But I was excited to see a baseball field again, being in China for awhile, And I wanted to have the baseball environment here. A Chinese friend of mine hunted down information about where the Shanghai Eagles played and at what time, So I took my wife out for a Friday mid-day at the baseball field.

The old ball game didn't have any peanuts or Cracker Jacks, Or hot dogs, Or beers, Or very many fans. There was a mascot dressed in a chicken suit, and even, Although we had to find behind some buildings to find it, surprisingly the field looked pretty standard. There was a total of probably fifty people in attendance when the game began. People came and went as the game gone on. some thing struck me was the feeling that many there were obviously hard core baseball fans, The kind you would anticipate finding catching foul balls at a MLB park. After quickly being spotted as one of the only white guys in attendance, I was called by Dan Washburn, A news coordinator doing a story for Baseball America. During my experience with him, He told me that he met some older Chinese men at essentially games he'd attended. He mentioned that when he asked them what brought them out to case, They told him they played ball as they were much younger, having to leave the game behind when Mao Zedong did away with the American influence during the Cultural Revolution. As for the group of boisterous, College aged supporters, I was told that a small grouping of them attended the local baseball college, And they were being trained to later become technicians. (In cina, Many children who express a particular athletic skill are guided down a specialized path devoted largely to incredible fulfillment of their athletic capabilities.) There were some younger T ball aged kids at the game who were coming to me by the uncle of one of the boys. He wanted them to apply English with me and my wife, And later the two boys asked me to play catch to have them using the homemade looking, Well used baseball one of the boys brought to the game.

The area we used to play catch was the same grass area outside the stadium used by the qualified professional teams to warm up their bullpen pitchers. I used the way to get a feel for how well a professional pitcher in China throws. The one I saw was probably wasting in the high 70's to low 80's. I watched him throw curve balls by incorporating good movement and change ups as well. His control was just like an average to good college pitcher.

The particular game we watched went into extra innings as the Eagles dropped a large lead late amongst players. Being distracted by people aiming to practice English during the tenth and eleventh innings, It wasn't before twelfth that I noticed a strange twist to baseball as the Chinese play it. Probably for the sake of ending the game promptly, they allow both teams to start extra innings with a runner on second base. One problem I saw with this approach is that it made the game boring, As the apparent lack of confidence in hitting on the part of both teams turned the extra innings into a bunt fest. Finally Tianjin broke open and began to win 9 5 in 12 innings.

in game, I met some college baseball players who had become pondering baseball when they came to college. they don't attend the designated baseball college, So their educational engagement baseball is only extra curricular. They invited me to play using them, And I have taken part in some of their practices and scrimmages.

On a Wednesday afternoon in May I followed the directions given to me to meet the team at the Shanghai Teacher's higher educatoin institutions on Guilin Road. The field the spot where the team practiced wasn't actually a baseball field. It was a general purpose field used mainly for soccer and track physical exercise. I have quickly come to realise that the space limitations in Shanghai, similar to most parts of China, Make it so that factories have to double up on their usage. It was amusing to me to watch after as we set up for a scrimmage. The areas where right and center field should be was heaped with a mix of people, Including a few of our people playing those trades, And soccer players who were not in the least severe what we were doing, Especially since they were fully engaged in their own game. As fly balls dropped and this includes, some of the soccer players would pick the balls up and toss them back, a few would, With a demonstration of irritation, Kick them straight. fortuitously for the soccer players, not one of them were hit.

a lot of baseball players were not so lucky. A healthy fear of hard baseballs traveling at high speeds seems to be second nature for most Americans, As if we are born with an if you know if a ball is fouled off into someone's face, it is going to hurt like heck at best. Although most of them didn't really know what I was saying, I attempted many times to tell those watching the action to back away from the batter and catcher. During one ten minute period, I saw three people get hit hard in the face or head by baseballs. by means of whole practice there were constant near misses as well.

On deck hitters kept with the Chinese custom for preserving one's place in line by crowding behind that person in front. That approach is okay for the local carl's junior. on the contrary, if you can't push your way up in line, You will find yourself standing in the same location for a long time, With person after person jumping on you. in contrast, When the person at the front of the line is swinging a bat, completely different set of rules should apply.

During the first practice with the faculty players, I was invited to pitch to the team as they scrimmaged. It soon became apparent that there were various levels of skill represented at the plate. I was reminded of something I saw in not so big League (Where kids are usually just beginning to learn to react to balls thrown towards them) When a particularly nervous batter accidentally stepped anterior to the plate, Opening up the actual ball so that it hit him directly in the stomach. providentially I was only throwing about 70 mph, So no major damage was done, with the exception that the player was likely quickly cured of any interest he had in the new American sport. After that incident the other players warned me when I was pitching to someone that was new, So I could slow it down enough for them to take a few solid cuts.

In a country the spot that the sport hasn't really caught on yet, It amazes me that these players respond so well to the problems of learning baseball. It is obvious that as people, teenagers and guys alike, Have developed a love and even a desire for the game. Before their season started in June, They practiced on fridays and Saturdays. Most practice workout last five hours or longer. back then I have participated with them, i know of their skills improve, With arm strength increasing and fielding and batting possibilities doing the same. stated, if they get enough exposure by playing outside of China, they often just pull off a medal. As for the long term outlook on baseball in China, Comments made by someone who has more experience with the system, As a venture capital company and active baseball supporter in China, Give a pretty good take on the subject. When I mentioned to him that I was considering opening a baseball retail store or batting cage in Shanghai, One of the founders of the CBL told me that it wouldn't be a bad idea if I didn't mind starving for after some duration. some three years from now however, he was quoted saying, A much different scenario may well exist, With baseball possibly becoming memory foam cover in Taiwan.
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