1-Year after the Olympics….Baseball Continues to Grow in China
About 10 months ago, Beijing was making final preparations for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. It sure doesn’t seem like it was that long ago.
A new twist in world traveling has started. Just before we disembarked from the plane, it was was boarded by local health officials and every passenger on the plane had there temperature checked, fortunately no one came up sick. Compliments of the
swine flu pandemic. Ironically once outside, I immediately noticed the lack of air pollution! The 3 million trees they planted last year must have made quite the impact. Maybe it was just a good couple days, but the pollution and air index had definitely improved. It’s really amazing to see how things have changed after a year.
Wukesong Main baseball stadium(photo below) has been bulldozed down along with the practice field. Field 2’s facade (photo above) is still standing. Where the main stadium was located is now just a big pile of dirt and a hole in the ground. Pretty sad. The Olympic legacy ( for baseball in china) is being moved to a city near the Taiwan /China borders called Shaman. The plans are to rebuild the Olympic baseball stadium in the next couple years at the site.
In the meantime the Fengtai Softball Venue may be changing back to a baseball venue, which was actually the original location for baseball. Back in 2004, plans were changed to move baseball to the temporary Venue in Wukesong with the intention to return to Fengtai after the games. There are 4 fields at Fengtai , 2 of which are stadiums. I am sure one of stadiums will remain as a softball field.
During the evaluation of the press box level at Fengtai we noticed a small restroom located next to the suite. This is pretty common but to have a view of the field while seated on the toilet was rather intriguing. A sports writers dream!
After checking out Fengtai’s fields we headed over to the Beijing University to see the college baseball field. It needs some TLC but with the support of alumni and others I believe we can make it work. Just near the University was an interesting restaurant called “Quiqan” or “QQ”. Tell me this menu doesn’t remind you of a Big Mac. As one of the students stated we “study” the Western trends very closely. I think we call it copy in the Western world.
Another baseball venue just outside of the city is under way. They are using our Olympic baseball field design to guide them in the construction of the fields. “Walker” is the man’s name heading up the operation. He really is a walker. (Actually a speed walker with numerous medals and championships.) They have been very innovative in adding components to the fields which includes dugouts that that were once 40ft shipping containers. Check it out! The highlight of this field trip was that I actually had a chance to check out the Great Wall of China. Traveling here about18 times during the past 3-4 years I never had time to go. It was worth the wait.
(photo below is Fengtai stadium)