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Chin-lung Hu Newsbeat

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Sorting Out Who’s Hu In Taiwanese Baseball is a Welcome Challenge

Hu? The name took me back, and even more than a decade later, accounted for a substantial percentage of what I knew about Taiwanese players in the professional ranks. Circa 2008, Chin-Lung Hu was considered a Top 100 prospect by both Baseball America (no. 55) and Baseball Prospectus (no. 32), and the third-best prospect on the Dodgers behind Clayton Kershaw, who panned out, and Andy LaRoche, who did not. I’d written about him a couple of times for the Baseball Prospectus annuals, noting that his acrobatic fielding conjured up comparisons to Omar Vizquel and forecast for future Gold Gloves as well as the bat speed to hit .300 at the major league level. A dozen years later, here he was, halfway around the globe and fresh off a milestone and a bit of history: his 1,000th hit in the Taiwan-based Chinese Professional Baseball League — due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the only professional baseball league currently playing its regular season, albeit to empty ballparks — and with the fewest games played (704) to reach that mark to boot.

Alas, I had actually missed the momentous knock, but caught up with it on Twitter a short while after via the Eleven Sports Taiwan account, which was streaming an English-language broadcast of Saturday’s game between the Rakuten Monkeys and the Fubon Guardians (Hu’s team). The Guardians had been on the short end of a 12-2 rout in the eighth inning when Hu, who had gone 0-for-4 in pursuit of hit number 1,000, singled just to the right of second base, plating a run.

An inning and maybe 45 minutes later — shortly after 9:30 AM in Brooklyn, where I had my 3 1/2-year-old daughter in my lap as we peered at a foreign but recognizable version of the national pastime — the announcers were still talking about Hu’s hit, because he was up again in what was now a 12-5 game. With men on first and second and two outs, he grounded into a potential game-ending double play, but the second baseman’s throw had pulled the shortstop well off the bag, and Hu beat the throw to first. The Guardians’ manager actually challenged the call via instant replay but was denied. The inning continued, and the game eventually ended 12-9, still a win for the undefeated (4-0) Monkeys.

My appetite had been whetted, to say the least.

A story that may be of interest to those participating in the Omnichatter.

 

QLE Posted: April 21, 2020 at 01:11 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: chin-lung hu, chinese professional baseball league, jay jaffe

 

 

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