TAIPEI (CNA) — English-language commentaries will soon be available for all four local professional baseball league games to meet the increasing demand from non-Chinese speaking fans worldwide for the ongoing Taiwan baseball season, as the league is so far the only one scheduled anywhere in the world to play, due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) held its first game of its 31st season at the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium on April 12, making it the first and so far only professional baseball league in the world to start this year.
The games, however, are being held in closed-door format, attended only by the players, coaches, referees and cheerleaders due to the social distancing rules announced last month by the Taiwan government to prevent any further spread of the virus.
As the only baseball league that is playing this season, the CPBL has therefore captured the attention of sports fans around the globe.
The Taoyuan-based Rakuten Monkeys, one of the four-team league, began to offer English-language commentary on April 15 by its broadcaster, Eleven Sports network, in addition to its existing Chinese-language broadcasts on local cable TV channels and online.
The English-language service, featuring World Baseball Softball Confederation’s Asia correspondent Richard Wang (王雲慶) and Wayne McNeil, founder of the website CPBL English, is available on the network’s twitter account.
The service, originally scheduled to last for just five games, has since being extended to all 60 home games of the Monkeys this season, thanks to funding from the Taoyuan City government, according to the team.
According to the Monkeys, the five games it has broadcast online with English commentary have so far been viewed over 7 million times.
Learning from the Monkeys’ success, the other three CPBL teams also recently announced that they will offer English commentary services soon.
The Tainan-based Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions said it is preparing to livestream its three straight home games against the Monkeys from Friday to Sunday with English commentaries.
The English-commentary games will also be viewable on the Eleven Sports network’s twitter account.
The other two teams in the league, the Taichung-based Chinatrust Brothers and the New Taipei-based Fubon Guardians are also ready to roll out the new service to further put the league on the map.
The Guardians said Wang and McNeil will provide English commentaries on its games from Friday via the team’s official twitter account.
The team will also have the team’s advisor, Chen Chin-feng (陳金鋒), the first Taiwanese to play in U.S. Major League Baseball (MLB), take part in Friday’s broadcast as a special guest.
The former Los Angeles Dodgers batter made his MLB debut in 2002 and retired from his baseball career in 2016.
The Brothers, meanwhile, said it is scheduled to offer English commentaries on its home games for the rest of the season from May 5, without disclosing further details.