Sun, Oct 19, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Elephants clinch Taiwan Series as ticketless fans riot

By Joy Su and Cody Yiu  /  STAFF REPORTERS

A street sweeper cleans up the streets around Taipei's Tienmu Stadium after ticketless baseball fans went on the rampage because they were told the crucial Taiwan Series baseball game between the Brother Elephants and the Sinon Bulls was sold out. The Elephants won the game in extra innings to clinch the national championship.

PHOTO: LU CHUN-WEI

The Brother Elephants finally got their hands on the 2003 Taiwan Series last night after a nailbiting 4-3 win over the Sinon Bulls.

The extra-innings victory handed the Elephants a 4-2 margin in the seven-game series.

With two men on base and two struck out, the Elephants' fifth batter, Tsai Fong-an (蔡豐安), drove the game-winning hit, a grounder up the middle, at the bottom of the tenth inning. The packed stadium celebrated the victory with champagne and cheers.

Although the Sinon Bulls led 3-0 in the fourth inning, the Elephants managed to narrow the gap to 3-2 by the fifth. The Elephants tied the score 3-3 in the ninth inning, forcing the game into extra innings. Tsai's neatly placed grounder sparked chaotic scenes in Taipei's Tienmu Stadium as the Elephants bench poured onto the field.

The Elephants had lead the series 3-1. This is their third consecutive series win.

Acute interest in the game resulted in a shortage of tickets, and fans stuck outside the ground became violent with ticket scalpers.

Thousands of Bulls and Elephants fans had camped outside Tienmu Stadium on Thursday night so that they could be assured of getting a ticket when the box office opened at 10am yesterday.

However, tickets for the 14,000-capacity stadium quickly sold out, leaving several thousand spectators fuming outside the stadium.

Some held up signs saying "Shame on Elephants' Fan Club," a reference to the fact that both teams had been allowed to reserve seats for their dignitaries far in advance, leaving only 10,500 tickets, according to a Chinese-language newspaper.

Others took their anger out on ticket scalpers, who were charging up to NT$2,000 for tickets that originally cost no more than NT$400.

Infuriated fans threw eggs at and beat up scalpers who cut lines and then sold the tickets at several times their face value.

Two scalpers were carried out of the area in front of the stadium by fans.

This year's postseason games have attracted an average attendance of 14,449, compared with the average 13,025 in the past 13 years.

Between 5,000 and 6,000 fans had to settle for watching the game on a TV wall outside the stadium installed by the Taipei City Government.

The excitement brought on by the game last night resulted in public disturbance fines of more than NT$72,000.

Last night, the Taipei City Bureau of Environmental Protection issued four tickets, fining the stadium for exceeding the 65 decibel noise limit.

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