Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Oakland Athletics on Saturday hosted its first Taiwanese Heritage Day event at the Oakland Coliseum with a performance by Taiwanese cheerleading squad the Rakuten Girls and a video message from Vice President William Lai (賴清德).
The Rakuten Girls, who are the cheerleaders for the CPBL’s Rakuten Monkeys, performed in front of a crowd of more than 2,000 people, followed by a prerecorded address by Lai about Taiwan’s baseball culture and democratic spirit.
Taiwanese pitcher Sha Tzu-chen (沙子宸), who was signed by the Athletics earlier this year, was also present.
Mizuki Lin (林襄), considered a “baseball cheerleading goddess” by Taiwanese fans, and EVA Airways vice president Andrew Su (蘇偉仁) threw out the ceremonial first pitches.
Ula Shen (壯壯), squad leader of the Rakuten Girls, said she was proud to bring Taiwan’s cheerleading culture to the World Baseball Classic and MLB stadiums.
Shen said she was surprised that some foreign baseball fans not only knew about the cheerleading squad, but also the name of every member.
The cheerleaders also interacted with fans during the event.
Fans Laura Power and Shadaj Laddad said they were pleasantly surprised by the appearance of the cheerleaders.
Laddad said he did not expect them to perform, and was happy to have a chance to take selfies with them.
Photo courtesy of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Miami via CNA
The Oakland Athletics lost 6-3 to the Houston Astros in their game after the event.
In Florida, the City of Miami Beach has designated May 22 as “Taiwan Day” to acknowledge and commend Taiwan’s outstanding achievements in democracy, freedom and economic development.
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber presided over a meeting on Monday last week, during which Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Miami Director General Chou (周啟宇) received the proclamation on behalf of the government.
With a population of 23 million, Taiwan is a country that enjoys democracy, freedom of speech and economic freedom, Miami Beach Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez said at the meeting.
Despite being constantly threatened by China, Taiwan is committed to promoting public and grassroots diplomacy, she added.
Taiwan is not only an important strategic partner of the US, but also the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturer, the proclamation says.
The city supports Taiwan’s international participation in the WHO, the Interpol, the International Civil Aviation Organization and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, it says.
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