Taiwanese bringing baseball talents to Brighouse Park

By Don Fennell

Published 1:46 PDT, Wed May 22, 2019

Last Updated: 4:32 PDT, Tue July 2, 2019

Sports is a popular recreation in Taiwan, with the people of the Southeast Asian island nation enjoying a particularly strong affinity with baseball.

Sports is a popular recreation in Taiwan, with the people of the Southeast Asian island nation enjoying a particularly strong affinity with baseball.

Commonly considered the country’s national sport, names like Wei-Yin Chen, a pitcher with the Miami Marlins, are top of mind for young ball players aspiring to reach similar heights.

This week, a team of Taiwanese youngsters is in the Lower Mainland to participate in the annual John Main under-13 AA tournament being hosted for the third consecutive year by the Richmond City Baseball Association Thursday, May 23 to Sunday, May 26.

Being billeted by Vancouver Community Baseball Association parents, the team from Taiwan arrived in the Lower Mainland on Tuesday.

John Braaten, president of Richmond City Baseball Association (RCBA), says the opportunity to host the Taiwanese team is one of good fortune.

“One of the (Vancouver) parents, Chris Fuoco, who helped host them last summer for another tournament, thought it would be a perfect fit,” Braaten says.

The bleachers are expected to be full to see Taiwan play, with Fuoco anticipating at least 500 people will take in each of their scheduled pool games (all at Brighouse Park). The games are Thursday at 6 p.m. versus VCB Capilanos and Saturday at 9 a.m. versus Cloverdale and 3 p.m. versus Richmond Blue.

Braaten said RCBA was fortunate to again be awarded this 16-team tournament, in part because of the Palmer-Garden City facility it has been using since the park’s transition from a fastball facility.

The John Main tournament is a precursor to summer all-star baseball, with many of the teams participating in the 13U AAA Division.

Teams like to see where they are in the grand scheme of things before summer baseball begins in July, Braaten explains.

John Main was a founding member and former president (1966 to 1986) of BC Minor Baseball. Braaten says his 20-plus years as an executive director helped shape and grow the association to what it is today, with almost 20,000 registered players and coaches.

“Hosting events like this helps build our community and provincial brand as a baseball city still,” Braaten says.

As hosts, Richmond has two teams in the tournament. Richmond Blue is in Pool D with Taiwan, Cloverdale and VCB Capilanos, while Richmond Gold is in Pool C with North Shore, Abbotsford and Penticton. Besides their game versus Taiwan, Richmond Blue is also scheduled to face Cloverdale Friday at 6 p.m. at Brighouse and VCB Capilanos Saturday at 9 a.m. at Palmer-Garden City.

Richmond Gold’s pool games are Friday at 6 p.m. versus Penticton, Saturday at 9 a.m. versus North Shore and Saturday at 3 p.m. versus Abbotsford all at Palmer-Garden City.

Click here for a complete tournament schedule. Games not identified as being played at Brighouse, are scheduled for the Palmer-Garden City facility.

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