Fri, Jul 11, 2003 - Page 23 News List

Players get ready for All-Star game down in heartland

By Paul Huang  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

With the All-Star game scheduled for Saturday in Taichung, this week's team matchups in the CPBL are slightly different from the norm.

Instead of the 10 games that are usually played each week, two games have been scheduled from Tuesday through Thursday for a total of six contests this week.

This year's mid-summer classic will be the first of its kind since the two leagues merged at the beginning of the season. Fan support for this year's game was overwhelming as the total number of votes received by league officials broke the 660,000 mark -- the highest ever in Taiwan pro baseball history.

Experts attribute the positive results to the initiation of casting fan ballots via mobile phones. Almost 133,500 votes were received from cellphones.

Stars from the six ball clubs are split into two teams this year: Team Red, headed by Elephants manager Lin Yi-tseng (林易增), consisting of the Sinon Bulls, the Brother Elephants, and the Makoto Gida, and Team White, headed by Whales skipper Lin Chung-chiou (林仲秋), consisting of the President Lions, the Chinatrust Whales, and the First Securities Agan.

Leading all players in total votes was Elephants star center fielder Chen Chih-yuan (陳致遠). The "Golden Warrior" received 300,195 votes and was named captain of Team Red.

Lions speedster Huang Kang-ling (黃甘霖), with 258,905 votes, will captain Team White.

Starting off on the mound for Team Red will be Bulls second-year pitcher Tsai Chung-nan (蔡仲南). A fan favorite since joining the league last season, Tsai will face Lions rookie sensation Pan Wei-luen (潘威倫).

Batting coach Wang Kuang-hui (王光輝) of the Elephants will be Team Reds' designated hitter. A starter in the very first All-Star game in 1990, Wang will be making a record-setting 13th All-Star appearance to cap a 14-year career as a player in the local professional ranks.

Rounding out the starting lineup for Team Red are Elephants' Chen Rei-chang (陳瑞昌) at catcher, Tsai Fong-an (蔡豐安) at first base, Fong Sheng-shian (馮勝賢) at second, Chen Rei-cheng (陳瑞振) at short, Chen Chih-yuan in center field and Peng Cheng-ming (彭政閔) in right, Bulls' Chang Tai-shan (張泰山) at third, and Chang Jia-hao (張家浩) in left.

Representing the Gida on Team Red are first baseman Hsieh Jia-shien (謝佳賢) and outfielder Wu Chen-han (吳承翰).

Catching for Team White is Tseng Chih-cheng (曾智偵), 44, of the Lions, who came out of retirement at the start of this season, after having coached the Lions from 1999 to 2002.

The rest of the starting lineup for Team White are Lions' designated hitter Luo Ming-ching (羅敏卿), Wang Chuan-jia (王傳家) at first, Wu Jia-rong (吳佳榮) at third and Huang Kang-ling at center field. The Whales' Lin Yueh-liang (林岳亮) will be at second, Cheng Chang-ming (鄭昌明) at short, and Yang Soong-shuen (楊松弦) in left field and Agan's Chen Kai-fa (陳該發) in right.

This year's pre-game festivities include "Fanfest," which begins at 10am, a beer-drinking contest at 1:30pm, an anti-SARS charity auction at 2pm, autograph sessions from 2:30pm to 2:45pm, and the Homerun Derby at 4:25pm.

Taichung City Mayor Hu Chih-chiang (胡志強) will toss the first pitch to kick off the 2003 All-Star Game at 6:35pm.

Round Up

The Elephants easily handled the Gida on Tuesday in Hsinchu with a 9-1 win. Elephants starter Gomez Martinez of Panama was brilliant in his debut as he held the Gida hitters to no runs on four hits over eight innings of play. Martinez also fanned seven en route to his first victory of the season.

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