NEW YORK (CNA) — A promotional video featuring President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) introducing Taiwan’s natural beauty and culture was played at the New York Mets’ home stadium Saturday prior to a Major League Baseball game, as part of the Flushing-based team’s annual Taiwan Day, which is in its 15th year.
Prior to a game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Mets at the latter’s home Citi Field, the one-minute clip played on the centerfield video display began with President Tsai introducing herself as “president of Taiwan.”
“Hi Mets fans, I am Tsai Ing-wen, president of Taiwan. Welcome to Mets’ Taiwan Day,” Tsai said, adding that it is her pleasure to share the beautiful country of Taiwan with fans.
“Baseball is one of the most popular sports in both Taiwan and the United States and many Taiwanese have played in the major leagues,” Tsai said in the pre-recorded clip, which featured beautiful scenery from around Taiwan and many Taiwanese baseball players, including former Mets infielder Hu Chin-lung (胡金龍).
“I am sure you will see even more Taiwanese baseball players here in the future,” the president added.
Tsai then introduced Taiwanese Youtuber Tsai Aga (蔡阿嘎) before the two finished the clip with a slogan, “Lets go Mets, lets go Taiwan,” drawing a round of applause at the stadium.
According to the Mets, President Tsai is the first foreign president to wear a Mets’ jersey and appear on the home stadium’s big screen.
Following the clip, Tsai Aga, wearing a baseball cap with the R.O.C. (Taiwan) flag on it and accompanied by his wife and son, walked up to the baseball mound before throwing a ceremonial first pitch to start the game.
At a press event following the ceremony, the youtuber made a joke about the pitch, saying that he intentionally threw a slow ball because he was worried about being drafted by the Mets and having to leave his family if he threw too fast.
Tsai’s promotional video and the youtuber’s ceremonial first pitch were all part of Taiwan Heritage Day organized by the Mets.
Teaming up with the nation’s Tourism Bureau, Taiwan’s representative office in New York has worked with the Mets on Taiwan Heritage Day to promote Taiwanese culture in the U.S. since 2005.
Lily Hsu (徐儷文), head of the New York office, told CNA that the promotional video featuring president Tsai was meant to introduce the nation’s beauty to Americans and boost tourism.
According to the office, around 700 overseas Taiwanese compatriots attended Saturday’s game.
The first Taiwanese Nobel Prize laureate Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲), who won the prize for chemistry in 1986, threw the ceremonial first pitch at last year’s Taiwan Heritage Day.
By Ozzy Yin and Joseph Yeh