Taiwanese baseball players to experience culture of the Valley - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Taiwanese baseball players to experience culture of the Valley

December 1st, 2016 development
Taiwanese baseball players to experience culture of the Valley

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski


When ballplayers from Tainan, Taiwan, come to town on Saturday, Dec. 3, Chandler National Little League President Doug Brewster has one goal.

“We want to show them the best American time we can,” Brewster said.

The 24 10- and 11-year-old boys and one girl who make up the Tainan City All-Star team will enjoy time staying with CNLL families, head to the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell and Sedona, and tour Chase Field and the ASU baseball field. They will also shop at Dick’s Sporting Goods. Former D-backs catcher Ken Huckaby will host a clinic for the kids.

“They wanted to go to the Chase Field because there are quite a few famous Taiwanese baseball players,” said Michelle Chang, the organizer and broker/owner of DA FA Realty and Investments LLC in Tempe.

One is Tainan-born Chien-Ming Wang, who pitched for a variety of teams before becoming a free agent.

“There are quite a few other famous ones,” Chang said. “When they come here to train, it really inspires them to one day become a Major League Baseball player.”

Chandler Vice Mayor Jack Seller appreciate Chang’s efforts.

“Michelle Chang has really put together a lot of stuff from them,” said Sellers, the point person for the Sister Cities relationship between Chandler and Tainan. “We’ve had a lot of participation from Doug Brewster, too. He’s arranged a lot of extracurricular activities.”

A visit to Tarwater Elementary School, which has a Mandarin-language immersion program, is scheduled. The kids will also play baseball games, practice in the morning at Snedigar Sportsplex, and, of course, hang out with their peers’ parents.

“When I had meetings with the parents, they all agreed to host them,” Brewster said. “We were all excited to do it. Each family is taking on two kids for a week. They must drop them off every day and pick them up every night. Do laundry, feed them. There are two kids per family so the kids are comfortable.”

The City Council is scheduled to meet the team, according to Chang. The Chandler/Tainan City teams also will play in two exhibition games (Friendship Exhibition) on Saturday, Dec. 10, at Snedigar Sportsplex, 4500 S. Basha Rd. An opening ceremony will be held at 12:30 p.m. to kick off the games, which will be played at 12:45 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Both games are open to the public.

Renewed friendship

Last year, Chandler National Little League players traveled to Tainan to play exhibition games.

“They planned to stay with the Taiwanese families before they had the Dengue Fever problem in Taiwan,” Sellers said.

He added that City officials are in talks for the American children to return to Taiwan next year. Funds must be raised, first. The new Sister Cities partnership is seeking sponsorships to continue its Little League exchange program and allow for future student exchanges and cultural programming. The sponsorship opportunities range from $25 to $10,000. To view the detailed list of sponsorship levels and benefits, visit chandleraz.gov/diversity.

“We’re contacting companies primarily here in Chandler,” Sellers said. “What we’ve done is, for certain level of contribution, Chandler National Little League will hang the company’s banner on the fence during the regular season.

“Hopefully we can get some money out of that. It’s a little bit problematic because a lot of these same companies. When you go to these companies, they say approach us April.

Sellers and Chang traveled to Tainan in late October for the opening ceremonies of a tournament that Chandler National Little League played in last year.

“It was mainly for a follow-up for our Sister Cities relationship with Tainan that we’re working on, though,” Sellers said. “We met a guy there named Winson Lin and he speaks fluent English. He lives in Tainan and he’s the founder of the Giant Cup Baseball Tournament.

“He’s a very highly regarded guy. He’s knowledgeable about the whole Little League structure. He said he would be the main point of contact for Chandler and Tainan’s Sister Cities program. For me, that was a really outstanding thing that happened on that trip.”

Brewster is excited for the kids to return to Chandler. Baseball players from the same organization visited two years ago as well.

“Our players will go to dinners with the team and do quite a bit of stuff with these kids,” he said. “I think they’re going to really enjoy it and get a lot out of it.

“I told the parents to feed them whatever you feed your family. Give them the American experience.”