If you think baseball is boring, I’m thinking you need to find your way to a Taiwanese ball game.
I love baseball, and have for as long as I can remember. My dad brought the sport into my life at an early age, my first memory was at the since torn down Stick, when the Atlanta Braves came to town to play our Giants. I can’t remember how it ended, because being 5 years old or so, I fell asleep from boredom. BUT, it grew on me over the years. Grass stains and dirt filled raspberries were a major part of my childhood. David sunflower seeds and the smell of a worn down leather glove still get me going.
The point is, I get it. Baseball can be boring to the filthy casual, and that’s why teams in the US go to great lengths to give you attention grabbing options at their ball parks. Walk around AT&T Park in San Francisco and you’ll find a giant slide, carnival like games, bars and pubs, and who knows what else since I left the states.
But tell me, where have you seen flame throwers though?
At the Taoyuan Lamigo Monkeys ball park, that’s where.
This baseball experience was like none other. Smoke machines and disco ball effects on the field. Cheerleaders getting the old men wild behind the dugouts. Some sort of airplane that rose up behind home plate. Fans never sat down, constantly sang songs and chanted loudly in Chinese, so what they were saying was beyond me, but of course I tried my hardest to sound them out and dance like they did! Because this was a title clinching game, there were fireworks to close it out, as well as streamers for us to all throw on the field.
And did I mention the flamethrowers??
This was a full on experience, with not a moment to even think about boredom. The passion is alive and well here in Taiwan for their four team league. The parks aren’t fancy, they don’t cost billions of dollars to build, and if you look around the seats you will not see one person unengaged. That’s success. You’d think it was a European soccer, sorry, futbol, match!
The Lamigo Monkeys had a hot start in the first, driving in three runs, but couldn’t close out the game. Eventually losing to the Brother Elephants 5-3. As you can see, their names are pretty awesome as well. They were able to clinch because the Rhinos beat the Lions, or visa versa…
The score didn’t matter to us, we weren’t there with any bias. The atmosphere engulfed us however, and like my friend put it – We may become filthy casuals after all.