So, I just returned from 3 months in Taiwan this summer, during which time I had the pleasure of attending a CPBL (Chinese Professional Baseball League) game pitting the Taipei Brother Elephants against the Taichung Sinon Bulls.
Really cool experience.
1. The stadiums are smallish (capacity crowd maybe is 5,000). The crowds are small (I went on a weeknight. There were, perhaps 1,000 people there). Even though there were only 1,000 people, they were extraordinarily loud. I remember thinking that 1,000 Taiwanese watching a baseball game = 20,000 watching an MLB game. They scream and chant the entire time. Literally.
2. Baseball in Asia is a really fun, surreal experience. The fans have organized "cheering sections" for specific players. They also have volunteer brass bands and percussion sections that bring their instruments to the game. As a result, watching a baseball game has this chaotic feel to it as the opposing bands and percussion sections are all producing a range of sounds during the game action (how the players can concentrate is beyond me). A crowd of 1,000 can be deafening at times.
3. If you're a fan of the home team, you sit behind first base. If you're rooting for the visitors, you sit behind 3rd base. The area behind home plate is no-mans land. In addition to the cacophony of sounds, fans are yelling at each other across the diamond during the course of the game. They're trading insults about the opposing players, the uniforms and where the other team is in the standings. My favorite chant was when the Bulls brought in a relief pitcher with two men on base--In Chinese, the crowd chanted "hey hey, relax! don't worry about the runners, they're not your responsibility!"
4. The fastest pitch I saw was clocked at 137 KPH (about 85 MPH). Anyone who can throw harder doesn't stay in Taiwan very long--They get recruited by MLB or the Japanese League.
5. There were no hard hit balls in the air--Some line drives, but nothing close to a home run. The umpiring seemed to me to be really loose. Anything that was close to being over-the-plate was called a strike. Batters were swinging. There were a lot of strike outs. The fielding was atrocious--Both 3B committed multiple errors on fairly routine plays. I would say that it resembled something between rookie league and A ball.
6. At the particular game I went to, the Brother Elephants won. After the game the players formed a line and shook hands--Just like a little league game.
Great time--If anyone is curious about baseball in Asia and travels, definitely get yourself to a game.