The President of EVA Airways called the flight “the highest priced flight” that Taiwan’s second largest international carrier had ever served. There were two full cages of baseballs for the players to sign. But they were all excited to be there. It is always fun and different to play in new cities.
Myworld could be missing some, but these are the players that we have been able to identify as playing for the United States team in Taiwan:
Catcher - Drew Butera, Jeff Mathis, Ronny Paulino
Infield - Eric Aybar, Emilio Bonafacio, Robinson Cano, Ryan Roberts, Pablo Sandoval, Danny Valencia, Ty Wigginton
Outfield - Curtis Granderson, Logan Morrison, Michael Morse, Josh Reddick, Andres Torres
Pitchers - Bill Bray, Ross Detwiler, Dillion Gee, Jeremy Guthrie, Mark Melancon, Jose Veras, LaTroy Hawkins, Trevor Bell, Rich Thompson, Colin Ballester, Phil Coke, Felipe Paulino, Ramon Ramirez
I hate to inform Taiwan, but most of these players are not all stars. Some of them are borderline major leaguers. But there are some All Stars among the group. Taiwan was a bit concerned that their national team would not be competetive enough, even with the addition of major leaguers Chien-Ming Wang and Fu-Te Ni. My concern is that Taiwan fans should not view this group of major league players as “All Stars” but just major league players.
The games will start Tuesday November 1 and run through Sunday, playing in three different cities, New Taipei City (XinZhuang Stadium), Taichung (Intercontinental Stadium) and Kaohsiung (Chengcing Lake Stadium).
One interesting note is that Robinson Cano’s father Jose Cano had pitched for the Uni-President Lions in 1992 through 1994 and the Wei Chuan Dragons from 1998 to 1999. He also pitched six games for the Houston Astros in 1989. Robinson was too young to go to Taiwan to see his dad pitch, but his dad is accompanying the team to see Robinson play. Jose Cano named his son after Jackie Robinson and was the homerun derby pitcher for David Ortiz and the eventual winner Robinson Cano. Perhaps he will pitch a little batting practice for the United States team.