Taiwan’s flagship sport is unravelling like an old rotted baseball, a university graduate said, reflecting the public mood of the moment, as she and I waited at a news conference for the cabinet spokesman to emerge with an official response to an illegal betting scandal.
A chain of injuries suffered by New York Yankees star Wang Chien-ming is pushing a pair of more obscure Taiwan-born U.S. Major League Baseball pitchers into the limelight as dejected fans grudgingly seek alternatives.
Reporters covering matches between the planet’s top tug-of-war teams at the 2009 World Games in Taiwan this past week would work from the press box of a middle school gymnasium cooled by ceiling fans and run by six volunteers with nothing to do but make sure the computer lines worked.
After the globe giggled at Athens in 2004 for letting swathes of Olympics seats go empty, organisers of the far more obscure 2009 World Games in equally obscure Taiwan are doing whatever it takes to pack the venues for such unlikely events as billiards and beach handball. Tug-of-war, anyone?
People are praying in Taiwan for baseball pitcher Wang Chien-ming.
The guy isn’t dead, despite a few alarmist banner headlines, but over the past month he has pushed Taiwan’s collective sadness to code blue levels.