Thu, Nov 16, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Taiwan's quiet man of baseball finally meets the press

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Wang Chien-ming poses for a photo during a press conference in Taipei yesterday.

PHOTO: SAM YEH, AFP

Neither the glamor of being a starting pitcher for the New York Yankees, nor the accolades his performances earned during the recent Major League Baseball (MLB) season, have succeeded in transforming Wang Chien-ming (王建民) from a man of few words into a chatterbox.

Wang returned to Taiwan last week for a break during the MLB's off-season.

In his first official meeting with the Taiwanese press yesterday, Wang took all kinds of baseball-related questions from reporters -- how he managed to garner so many complete games in the past season, what his goal will be for next year and even if he felt threatened by the anticipated arrival of Daisuke Matsuzaka, a Japanese pitcher who secured a contract with the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday.

His answers, as expected, were characteristically short.

"I just pitch, one game after another, without thinking too much about earning another result," he said, adding that the secret to pitching well in a game was to "get enough sleep."

When asked about which player he least wanted to see when the bases were loaded, Wang's answer: Eric Hinske of the Boston Red Sox.

The theme of the press conference was "Quietness" (安靜), and it attempted to portray Wang as someone who is able to focus only on the catcher and the batter in a boisterous Yankee Stadium packed with baseball fans.

Kao Ying-chieh (高英傑), director of the sports science department at Taipei Physical Education College, was Wang's pitching coach.

He attended yesterday's press conference as one of the people Wang most wanted to see during his homecoming.

Kao said that Wang always appeared quiet and was not particularly disturbed by what was going on around him.

Kao recalled taking his baseball team on a hiking trip once. There was a creek along the hiking trail, and all the players were eager to hop into the creek, except Wang, who stood on a bridge above the creek and watched his teammates play.

"I was happy just to watch," Wang added.

Wang had 20 complete games, including one in one in post-season games.

Commenting on his performance in the past season, Wang said he went through a difficult time in July and August, but was glad to make his breakthrough in the end.

Wang said that whether he wins the Cy Young Award or a pay raise from the Yankees next year does not particularly interest him.

"The most important thing is not to get hurt and stay healthy," Wang said, "and to try to demonstrate the best skills to the fans."

Wang is scheduled to throw out the first ball at today's Intercontinental Cup game between Taiwan and Cuba in Taichung.

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