President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday hosted a luncheon for the national baseball team who advanced to the second round of the 2013 World Baseball Classic (WBC), during which he said he expected that the enthusiasm for Taiwanese baseball revived by the games would last.
Taiwan advanced to the second round of the tournament and were one of the final eight at this year’s championship. The team’s run ended with a 14-0 loss to Cuba on March 9, but their performance marked the team’s best showing ever at the event.
“The team made history in Taiwanese baseball and your efforts touched the hearts of so many people. Our professional baseball games will begin in the next couple of days, and we hope the passion and enthusiasm stirred by the WBC will last,” Ma said at the Presidential Office.
Ma said the national team’s exploits during the tournament attracted more than 10 million TV viewers. He applauded the players for setting a good example for the sport through their dedication and willpower.
“Public support for the Taiwan team during the WBC went beyond political party affiliations, ethnicities and age, and at such moments, we see a united Taiwan. Baseball is your life, and the life of baseball fans. Let us protect the sport together,” he said.
Ma, accompanied by first lady Chow Mei-ching (周美青), presented each player with a watch bearing his signature. Peng Cheng-min (彭政閔) received the gifts on behalf of the team.
Taiwan skipper Hsieh Chang-heng (謝長亨) and players Kao Chih-kang (高志綱), Chang Chien-ming (張建銘) and Lin Chih-sheng (林智勝) also attended the luncheon.