• Directory of Taiwan

Taiwan's baseball team sets record with 156 ceremonial first pitches

Wei Chuan Dragons returning to CPBL for 1st time since 1999

Tienmu baseball stadium.

Tienmu baseball stadium. (CNA photo)

The Tianmu-based Wei Chuan Dragons professional baseball team celebrated their 2021 home opener on Friday (March 26) by breaking a world record, as some 156 people simultaneously threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

The team, which returned to Taiwan's Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) this year after being disbanded in 1999, was also playing its inaugural game at Tianmu Baseball Stadium in Taipei, the only artificial turf ballpark in Taiwan.

To commemorate the event, the team invited 326 people, including Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), CPBL Commissioner Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌), as well as players from 16 local baseball clubs and 15 school teams to throw out a total of 163 first pitches.

However, because the Guinness Book of World Records requires that the pitches must be simultaneously thrown and successfully caught, seven of the pitches were ultimately discounted, meaning that 156 made it into the record books. In doing so, the club broke the previous record of 111 first pitches set by the Ehime Mandarin Pirates of Japan's Shikoku Island League Plus on Aug. 26, 2011.

In the game that followed, the Dragons scored a 3-0 victory over the Fubon Guardians of Xinzhuang, improving their record to 3-5. Friday night's contest was the first of a three-game series at Tianmu Stadium, with the next games scheduled for 5:05 p.m. on Saturday and 2:05 p.m. on Sunday.

The CPBL is currently comprised of five teams, which are based in Tianmu, Xinzhuang, Taoyuan, Taichung, and Tainan. Last year, the CPBL gained international attention as the first professional baseball league in the world to start its season amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and later as the first league to allow fans to attend in person.

This season, the league has capped the number of fans allowed into stadiums at 78 percent of capacity to comply with the government's COVID-19 prevention efforts.