8/16/2008

I'm Calling It Aboriginal Taipei

Every time my wife hears Chinese Taipei, I think she's going throw the TV out the window. Since when is Taipei Chinese and what about the rest of the country?

I noticed a trend today when I was getting my Internet sports fix. CNN/Sports Illustrated ran with this headline: "US softball shuts out Taiwan 7-0". No Chinese Taipei stuff. And Yahoo put it like this: "US shuts out Taiwan 7-0". At ESPN, the medal counter is also calling Taiwan, uh, well...Taiwan, with Chinese Taipei in parentheses: http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/summer08/medals
If you go to the official Website of the Olympics out of Beijing, Taiwan is not listed at all. There is a place, however, called Chinese Taipei.

The blog In Claudia Jean's Eyes has brought up an interesting point in a post called: "China's Olympic dirty trick against Taiwan" (she's also not using Chinese Taipei). According to this writer, Taiwan was set up to lose. On Thursday, Taiwan had to play in the last time slot against Japan, a very tough opponent. The next day, they were scheduled in the earliest slot, against China. This is the only time a team has had back-to-backers like this, and look who benefits: http://claudiajean.wordpress.com/2008/08/11/taiwan-baseball-olympics/

I don't know how sympathetic I am though. Actually, I don't really like this Taiwan baseball team. Why? I don't think they've displayed very good sportsmanship; they are ungracious when they lose, and full of excuses. They complained about the strike zone in the China game. The umpire was from Panama, not China. Then, they bitched about their own second baseman making mistakes and their own relief pitcher being "too cautious". What does that mean anyway? He doesn't throw enough balls or wild pitches? They complained about the new, extra innings rule, where runners are automatically inserted at first and second base to start the inning, claiming, "we weren't used to it". Do they mean that half an inning later the Chinese were, and that's how they won? Or, are they admitting they did not practice for this scenario. They've also complained that their best players are in America. Every team except Cuba, China and the Netherlands is facing this problem.

This is the same team that got into a brawl a little while back with the Canadian Olympic team in Douliu (斗六), Taiwan. The brawl, which cleared both benches, was sparked by the fallout from a home plate collision between Canadian base runner James VanOnstrand and Taiwanese catcher Yeh Chen-chang. As VanOnstrand was walking away, the catcher threw the ball at him, hitting him in the back. The Taiwan Journal reports Yeh flipped it at the Canadian, but my colleague who was watching the game says it was an overhand throw:
http://taiwanjournal.nat.gov.tw/ct.asp?xItem=30686&CtNode=122 My colleague also says that fans at the game started throwing garbage at the Canadians. Later, when the Taiwanese TV media picked up the story, it was neither flip nor throw. They simply showed the Canadian bullies pounding on their Taiwanese hosts.

This is how the piece in the Taiwan Journal ends: "Even though Taiwan enjoyed home-field advantage, many supporters were not optimistic about the team's chances, especially when Hung announced his final lineup composed of many young and inexperienced players. But equipped with burning ambition and guided by Hung's astute tactics, the team of unproven youngsters eventually obtained respect both at home and abroad by making the public's wish of going to the upcoming Olympics come true."

Hung's astute tactics? Hung is the manager; the guy that blames his players, by name, in the media for losing games. He is the guy that was badly out-managed in the China game. He's the guy that did not prepare his team for the new rules, and who did not notice the glitch in the schedule until it was way too late to do anything about it.

The Canadian media doesn't really sing Hung's praises. But they do say the brawl galvanized the Canadians in a tight game, one which they came from behind to win.

Final comments: I don't think that the Taiwan team should be using scheduling as an excuse for losing. I mean, come on, baseball isn't that tiring (unless you're a pitcher). Players sit or stand around for 95 percent of the game. That is why Major League teams are able to play 162 games a season, averaging six a week. The players should go look at Michael Phelps if they want to understand tiring. This guy Mao from Keelung that was in the Taipei Times today summed it up beautifully: "It's just like in history. Last night we lost to [former colonial power] Japan and today we lost to the communist bandits."

3 comments:

C.J. said...

Hi,

I don't know much about baseball or any of the teams out there. I didn't even follow their post game reactions.

The reason why I wrote the article about the schedule was not to find an excuse for Taiwan's loss. I actually wrote that article before they played Japan. I was just trying to highlight the handling of this Olympics and how useless Ma's government in protecting their people.

Thanks

Andres said...

patrick, i certainly agree with your wife. i HATE the term chinese taipei as well.

as for the baseball team, i don't really follow it neither here nor MLB, but the taiwan team does make too many excuses. they simply choked and lost against china in the olympics.

Patrick Cowsill said...

They were out-managed. Interestingly, it was the Taiwanese manager making the most excuses. BTW, nice cabin. Too bad I missed you.