A big turnout is expected at the Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium over the next two days for the annual CPBL All-Star Weekend that features this afternoon’s much anticipated home run derby, followed by tomorrow’s All-Star Game.
Fans of all ages can begin their mid-summer Baseball Classic experience early in the afternoon at the fanfest, where they can take a few swings in a batting cage, find the latest in baseball apparel, or pick up some old-fashion baseball memorabilia, along with a wide variety of food and fun.
After all the pre-game activities, the annual home run derby starts at 5:05pm, showcasing eight of the league’s top long-ball hitters, featuring past winner and the defending champion Lin Yu-chuan of the EDA Rhinos.
Lin Chih-sheng of the Lamigo Monkeys was originally included on the list of sluggers slated for the event, but was forced to sit out the contest due to a recent waist injury.
Rounding out the rest of the contestants are home-run leader Lin Hung-yu (Monkeys), Deng Chih-wei and Liu Fu-hao of the Uni-President Lions, the Chinatrust Brothers’ Chang Chih-hao, and a trio of first-time participants — Yang Guan-wei (Rhinos), Chen Tzu-hao (Brothers) and Lan Yen-luen of the Monkeys in place of the injured Lin Chih-sheng.
Each contestant will get 10 outs in the first round of play, then the top four batters advance to the second round, before the top two finishers square off in the final, with the winner taking home the trophy and a purse of NT$100,000.
The All-Star base-running contest starts tomorrow afternoon where the top speedsters in the league will show off their blazing speed around the bases before the annual All-Star Game with the opening pitch scheduled for 5:05pm.
Fan favorite Peng “Chia Chia” Cheng-min, who won the most votes for the 10th straight year, will make his 14th career appearance in the game by leading the Team Red against Team White.
Chia Chia will be joined by fellow slugger Chang “OEO” Tai-shan, who will make his record-setting 18th All-Star appearance. It will likely be the Prince of Jungle’s final appearance as the Lions slugger seriously considers the option of retiring after 19 outstanding seasons in the CPBL.
Taking the mound for Team Red will be Brothers righty Cheng Kai-wen, who earned the nod from the fans to start the game and take on Lions lefty Kuo Hung-chih.
Both hurlers are listed as rookies as they joined the league for the first time this year, despite having played several seasons abroad with the Hanshin Tigers of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball League and the Los Angeles Dodgers of the US major leagues respectively.
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