Baseball and football seasons start in Taiwan – behind closed doors, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Baseball and football seasons start in Taiwan – behind closed doors

The baseball and football seasons got under way behind closed doors in Taiwan at the weekend, providing rare live action for fans at home at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has shut down most professional sport around the globe.

Taiwan has been comparatively successful in containing Covid-19, with nearly 400 cases and six deaths in a population of almost 24 million.

The Chinese Professional Baseball League's much-delayed start was pushed back by a further 24 hours after rain swept across the island, forcing the postponement of the traditional season-opener on Saturday.

It therefore fell to Cuban lefthander Ariel Miranda, formerly of the Seattle Mariners, to throw the first pitch of the season for the Chinatrust Brothers against the Uni-President Lions at the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium on Sunday.

Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen posted a picture on her Facebook page on Sunday of her watching the baseball match at home, accompanied by one of her cats, and calling on everyone else to join her and watch from home.

No fans were allowed in the 20,000-seater stadium to watch the Lions win 4-1, with health concerns limiting attendees to a total of 200 players, coaches, umpires, cheerleaders and journalists, local media reported.

Before the wash-out game on Saturday, the Rakuten Monkeys had placed cardboard cut-outs of fans replete with face masks in the stands.

Temperature screening was mandatory at the stadiums, but some fans were worried about the safety of those on the field.

The Taiwan Football Premier League also got under way on Sunday. - REUTERS