i went to a baseball game with my cousin a couple weekends ago and it was FUN!!!
we watched a game between 7-11 (yep, the convenience store chain) and Brothers Elephant (a hotel chain) -- two of the top teams in the Taiwanese league, of which there are 4 teams. So few, right?! Wikipedia told me that at the peak of Taiwanese baseball in '97, there were two leagues and 11 teams! Since then, there has been a bit of restructuring.. I am not sure why. Politics, i think. in fact, there was a big scandal tied to TW baseball in recent years. apparently the Mob was fixing games and making big $ on gambling (NYT article). during this time, the league lost its integrity...fans stopped going to games, stopped watching on tv. it has notbeen the same since.
also, another curious and pretty uncool thing: the teams are not associated with a city or region like they are in the US. How do fans pick a team to cheer for?! i asked my cousin. He said, Sometimes based on the team colors, or just how you feel about them. WTF, right? this also means that every stadium is itself neutral grounds; each game a team is designated the home team.
we sat on the 7-11 side and the game i went to, they were the visiting team. it was fun to be surrounded by a bunch of taiwanese people excited to watch a leisurely game of baseball. there were lots of loud chants that were being directed by a very enthusiastic man who was also backed by a band - big brass style marching band! people use a pair of big plastic cone-like things (see pic) and hit them against each other to make noise! FUN, but unlike cheering at AT&T Park. Another difference is pace and quality of baseball is clearly slower, less advanced than the ML! Probably AA/AAA- level.
What is the same? Hot dog stands. They got 'em. Also? Love for the game. So much enthusiasm. If you're interested in getting another POV on baseball in TW, i wandered onto this blog post in my research: Random Asian-ness, Taiwanese Baseball.
Thank you Willies for taking me. x