Thousands celebrate U.S. Independence Day at baseball game in Tainan

Photo courtesy of AIT

TAINAN (CNA) — Over 5,000 people packed a stadium in Tainan on Saturday to watch a pro baseball game and celebrate the United States’ July 4 Independence Day.

The event, dubbed America Day: Home Run!, was hosted by the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the Tainan City government, and Uni-President Lions team, which was playing against CTBC Brothers in Taiwan’s professional baseball league.

By 5:00 p.m., the 6,000 seats in Tainan Municipal Baseball Stadium were full, and the event kicked off with a special rendition of the American national anthem, by U.S.-based Taiwanese college student Tina Wu (吳語庭), in keeping with American tradition.

Among the invitees were Taiwanese former Major League Baseball pitchers Wang Chien-ming (王建民) and Kuo Hong-chih (郭泓志), who threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the start of the game.

Other dignitaries at the event included AIT Director Brent Christensen, Taiwan Vice President William Lai (賴清德), Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), Taiwan’s representative-designate to the U.S. Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), and several Cabinet members.

Vice President Lai Ching-te (left) and AIT Director Brent Christensen (center) / Photo courtesy of CNA

n an interview before the game, Lai told reporters that he hoped to see a strengthening of the close cooperation between the U.S. and Taiwan, particularly in the areas of COVID-19 prevention, economic growth, national security and people-to-people exchanges.

Meanwhile, the AIT said in a statement after the event that it was an opportunity to showcase the relationship between Taiwan and the U.S.

“AIT hopes that today’s event highlighted for baseball fans both in Taiwan and in the United States the importance of our close friendship and our many shared values,” it said.

Baseball plays a special role in the July 4th Independence Day celebrations in the U.S., according to the AIT, adding that the Tainan event gave baseball fans in Taiwan a chance to experience some American baseball traditions.

AIT Director Brent Christensen (left) and former Major League Baseball pitchers Wang Chien-ming. (Photo courtesy of the AIT)

In the game, the Brothers scored their ninth consecutive win over the Lions, defeating them 7-2.

Clinching their first run in the first inning, the Brothers never looked back, as they pocketed another four runs in the third inning and two in the seventh inning, with superb batting.

A series of mistakes left the Lions with only two runs and three consecutive losses on their home ground.

Brothers starting pitcher Huang En-tzu (黃恩賜) tallied eight strikeouts, while allowing just seven baserunners in six innings and 103 pitches.

Photo courtesy of CNA