TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Academy-award winning Taiwanese director Ang Lee (李安) on Friday (March 19) threw out the first pitch at the Xinzhuang Baseball Stadium in New Taipei City, as the Fubon Guardians took on the Rakuten Monkeys for its first home game.
Taking the field in a No. 23 Fubon Guardians jersey, the Pingtung County native cautiously prepared the mound before throwing out his first pitch. While his throwing action closely resembled that of a professional, the pitch fell well short of home plate.
Speaking to reporters, Lee said this was the first time he had thrown a ceremonial first pitch at a Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) game. Compared to his experience opening a game for MLB's New York Mets, he said the Taiwan version was more nerve-wracking since he was given more media attention.
Meanwhile, Lee joked he deliberately prepared the mound so that the camera crew could capture good-looking photos of him. He also explained that his plan to throw the ball harder had resulted in the unexpectedly wild pitch.
Although he does not root for a particular CPBL team, Lee said he has been a huge fan of Taiwan baseball since elementary school, when he was living in Tainan at the time. He said he grew up watching baseball and met his wife through the sport.
When he first moved to the U.S., he went to support Taiwan's youth baseball team in Gary, Indiana. It was at the local baseball stadium where he met his wife of almost 40 years.
Although baseball has played an important role in his life, Lee said he has not considered making a film about the sport. However, he recommended the public to watch one of his favorite baseball films, "Bull Durham" (1988).
Lee said he has been able to meet with many old school friends during his time in Taiwan. He is expected to leave for the U.S. this weekend and return at the end of the year for the Golden Horse Awards.