Baseball fans in the Taipei area have the opportunity to wake up early today and enjoy an exciting live broadcast of the Washington Nationals pitcher Wang Chien-ming’s (王建民) first Major League Baseball start in two years.
Fans have been invited to gather at Taipei City Hall to watch a live broadcast of the Nationals home game against the New York Mets which begins at 7am, the city government announced yesterday.
The city will host a “party” that starts at 6am — when three local sports channels will also begin their broadcasts — for fans to cheer for the Taiwanese right-hander as they watch on the big screen.
Fans are encouraged to support Wang by dressing up in body paint and bringing posters, said the city sports office. Fifteen Nationals jerseys will be given away to the most creative fans.
The first 150 people to arrive at the event will also be offered free breakfast. New Taipei City (新北市) will throw a similar party to celebrate the Taiwanese star’s highly anticipated return to the major leagues.
The 31-year-old pitcher has not appeared on a big-league mound since he injured his right shoulder while pitching for the New York Yankees against the Toronto Blue Jays on July 4, 2009.
Wang had surgery to repair a torn shoulder capsule later that month, but has struggled to recover since then, missing all of last year’s season.
Despite the long period of inactivity, the Tainan native remains immensely popular nationwide.
“I am just very excited because it will have been exactly two years tomorrow since I got injured,” Wang said. “And there were many ups and downs during my rehabilitation. I am just very happy to be able to pitch like this.”
During his career with the New York Yankees, Wang had a 6-5 record against National League teams with a 3.87 ERA.
There is no guarantee he will return to his pre-injury form.
Taiwan’s TV stations have been broadcasting MLB games since the 2006 American League Cy Young runner-up’s career peaked with 19 wins that season.
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