USA WINS WORLD CUP GOLD MEDAL
Taipei - The 2007 Baseball World Cup concluded Sunday the same way it started?soggy. Despite a light drizzling rain, and a few more gray hairs, the 2007 world cup baseball tournament crowned a new champion? USA! They beat the Cubans in another classic international show down 6-3. All the games were good, but the people, made it a great experience. Not just the fans but the folks we spent the past month with on the field.
The semi and final games were played in Tianmu and Hsinchuan baseball stadiums located in Taipei City. Chad Olsen, Jeff Nancarrow and Darrell Lemmer provided direction to the local groundskeeping crews, which consisted of local high school baseball teams. These kids were the MVP?s of the tournament. They arrived at the stadium at 7: 00 am and didn?t leave until the fields were prepped for the next day, often after 11:00 pm. They were responsible for not only field operations, but shagging balls, tarp crew, bat boys, ball boys and assisted stadium maintenance staff with whatever needed to be done. They did a great job!
The crowds were small, except for when Chinese-Taipei played. The TPE crowds were phenomenal with their trademark blow horns and other noise makers. The smaller crowds of the other countries weren?t very loud, but they were still effective. The five infamous hecklers from Canada were especially entertaining! The fans are a big reason international baseball is so exciting for me. You just don?t know what you?ll see.
One of the more difficult field challenges was putting the big tarp on the field (as it always is). The consistent wind and gusts exceeding 30 mph made it difficult every time the tarp went on the field. The tarp roll was a 30 ft. piece of schedule 80 pipe which added to the level of difficulty. The field held up to the heavy tournament traffic considering the field had no grass, just 4 short weeks ago. All of the materials used for the renovations and maintenance were provided locally and were high maintenance. We completed everything we could think of before, between and after each game to allow for consistent tournament play. We even got a chance to grow some rye grass on Tianmu stadium befoe the final round. We pre-germinated some seed and it popped 2 days before the event to give us some needed color.
We look forward to the Asian Olympic qualifier next month, also to be held in Taiwan. The Asian Qualifier goes to the Olympics in beijing. Teams will include Taiwan, Korea, Japan and Thailand.
Story Line by Chad Olsen & Murray… photo compliments IBAF, Jeff, Chad an Murray