Six cheerleaders from a Taiwanese professional baseball team, the Rakuten Monkeys, are heading to New York in August to perform at the annual Taiwan Day put on by the New York Mets.
Known as the Rakuten Girls, the Taiwanese cheerleaders are to appear at the Mets’ home park, Citi Field, on Aug. 27 to highlight Taiwan’s unique baseball cheerleading culture during the 18th annual “Mets Taiwan Day.”
The ceremonial first pitch of this year’s celebration is to be thrown by Taiwanese baseball commentator Tseng Wen-cheng (曾文誠) before a game between the Mets and the Los Angeles Angels.
Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times
Mets Asian Development and Services account executive Wayne Wang (王偉成) said having cheerleaders drive up audience engagement through constant chants and other activities and props is one of the unique elements of Taiwan’s baseball scene.
Major League Baseball teams, on the other hand, tend to use mascots and stadium light and sound effects to rouse their fans, he said.
Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League has expanded the scale and engagement of its cheerleaders, with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) introducing Taiwan’s cheerleading culture at last year’s Mets Taiwan Day.
The Mets Taiwan Day has been held every year since 2005 except in 2020, when it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and ticket sales for this year’s event have been brisk since they became available on Wednesday, Wang said.
Last month, the Mets released a new logo for the Taiwanese celebration incorporating the silhouette of the nation into the words “Taiwan” alongside various other Taiwan-defining elements, such as mountain ranges and plum blossoms.
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