For anyone interested in baseball, a visit to the Taichung Brother Elephant’s 12,000-seat home stadium is not to be missed. Recently renovated, the baseball stadium houses a newly created baseball cultural park with fan shop, cafe, mini-dome and baseball museum. However the highlights are definitely the museum and the accompanying mini-dome next door.
While small, the museum features memorabilia from Taiwan’s baseball glory days, as well as an interesting look at the founders of baseball on the island, from its humble beginnings in the 1960’s to the nationwide sport of today. Most of the signs are in Chinese, so it may be better to walk-around with a Chinese speaking friend. Nonetheless, an abundance of photos and helpful staff at least give you an idea of the development of baseball here. An interactive robot when you walk in adds a nice touch, and there’s a mini baseball field inside with cameras over the bases for kids to reenact Taiwanese baseball’s famous moments.
Catching a Game
There are just four baseball teams in Taiwan all of which playing in the Chinese Professional Baseball League (</a<>CPBL). Baseball games are regularly held at different venues around the island to give everyone an equal chance to watch them. Each team plays 50 games a year so there are over 200 games available to catch. Anyone interested in watching a baseball game at the Brother Elephants home ground should check the game schedule first.
From Zero to Hero
Taiwanese baseball really took off in the late 1960’s with the meteoric ascent of the Taitung Red Leaves (紅葉) little league team. The story goes that a principle of a poor aboriginal village elementary school in Taitung County found many of his students skipping class to play outside. The newly created team did well in the championships but almost pulled out due to insufficient funds. After publicizing there plight, donations poured in from across the island allowing the junior team to win the championships, and the following exhibition match with a visiting guest team from Japan. It was the first time Taiwan had beaten Japan and the baseball fever that followed resulted in a a regular team from Taichung winning the baseball world series in 1969,
The Bottom Line
For non-Chinese speakers, a visit to the museum raises more questions than not, but there’s enough information on display to arouse one’s curiosity to learn more about baseball in Taiwan.
Current Teams (CPBL)