Sunday, March 14, 2010

Say It Ain't So: Dodgers Love Taiwan Over China

The L.A. Dodgers have just finished up their three two-game stint in Taiwan (due to a rainout) and will leave Taiwan with only positive impressions of her. If you are not in Taiwan and didn't know the Dodgers were playing a couple exhibition games against Taiwanese "All-Star" players, well now you do. Not only that, but what originally had been negative stories leading up to the event (due to the Dodgers' starting line-up being a no-show for the trip) has turned into probably the best outcome that could be had for Taiwan - "Rave" reviews for Taiwan.

The major story on is of the Dodgers in Taiwan, including the "Rave" review for Taiwan.
You don't realize how you touch people the way we do, even when they don't know your name, just the uniform," said catcher Lucas May, one of six Dodgers who also made the 2008 goodwill trip to China.

"The people here love baseball and are in awe of the Dodgers. The history of China was interesting, with the Great Wall and Tiananmen Square. But here, the people know their baseball and are so friendly and respectful. They're always smiling and that goes a long way."

No real surprise here. Accounts after accounts from my white friends who have visited Taiwan is that they have found Taiwanese to be very friendly to foreigners while being able to communicate in English. That is definitely a plus for any visitor/tourist in a foreign country. The article goes on with more quotes from players basically commenting on how pleasantly surprised they were with Taiwan and the people, and how stark the difference was with Taiwan and China.

James Loney said he's not surprised that players had a better time in Taiwan than China.

"The people here were excited to see us play. I didn't really hear that from the guys coming back from China," said Loney. "I guess it's not as intense there as it is here. I feel the people here look to us as important to them. The fans are very knowledgeable about the game. They know our team pretty well.

"I'm glad I came, I enjoyed it. A lot of guys didn't want to go after the China trip. I knew Taiwan as a country is a little ahead of China as far as the economy has developed. In China, most people are still trying to become more advanced. Here they have a TGIF and a Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. We went to the Nike Store, normal things you would do back home. Most people I encountered knew English. And they were real friendly people."

Not only do the players comment on the differences, but show their knowledge of Taiwan being a country. Bravo to the Dodgers and to their management for giving up their time for the Taiwanese fans. But, leave it to Manny to rake in $170,000 for some appearances that may have been the tipping point in him deciding to come to Taiwan.

Regardless, I think everyone was a winner here. The Dodgers leave Taiwan with lasting positive memories, the MLB gets some promotion in Taiwan, the Taiwanese fans get to see MLB players in their home country, and China... well they weren't even in the picture until the Dodgers started making comparisons... but I guess they got the short end of the stick here.

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