Several groups have criticized the Chinese Taipei Baseball Association’s (CTBA) ban on bringing large Republic of China (ROC) flags and other items to Asian Baseball Championship games.
The ban became a hot topic on sports chat sites, as the television broadcast of Saturday’s game between Taiwan and China showed one fan sitting behind home plate at the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium holding a “Winnie the Pooh” toy while another held a large ROC flag.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) is allegedly sensitive to comparisons to Winnie.
Photo: Taipei Times
Prior to the game the CTBA had restricted fans from displaying such items so as “not to result in unnecessary situations.”
Police and stadium workers had been told to inspect fans’ bags and remove any banned articles.
Many people accused CTBA officials of kowtowing to China again, after they had earlier prohibited fans from wearing masks or holding banners supporting pro-democracy protests in the territory during the Hong Kong-China game.
Netizens posted messages saying that they love the “Winnie the Pooh” bears at the ballpark, while others said fans would do anything to help Taiwan gain an advantage in international competitions.
Others said that people have always brought ROC flags to games, and they would not stop when Taiwan plays China.
Taiwan thrashed China 10-2 in the game to advance to last night’s final against Japan.
The team put together a rally in the fifth inning to take a 5-4 lead against Japan, which they held until the end of the game.
Winning the gold medal gives the team an additional qualifier for next year’s Tokyo Olympics.
Facing Japanese starting pitcher Yoshiki Yamada, catcher Chang Ching-te (張進德) had ripped a triple to clear the bases to go in front 3-1 in the second inning, after Japan opened scoring with one run in the opening frame.
The visitors rattled starting pitcher Teng Kai-wei (鄧愷威) to get another run in the bottom half, then Japan’s Shohei Morishita drove in another run with a double to tie the game at 3-3 in the third inning.
Japan knocked two hits against Taiwan’s second pitcher Cheng Yu-hao (鄭祐豪) to take the lead at 4-3, but first baseman Chiang Chien-ming (姜建銘) hit a double in the fifth to advance to 5-4.
In the battle for bronze medal in the afternoon, China beat South Korea 8-6 at the Taichung stadium.
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