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Tea Leaves

Taiwan's diplomatic home run

For a brief and glorious moment, baseball puts the island at center of world sport

I have been to my fair share of baseball games in the United States, but a recent match-up in Taiwan will be one of my most memorable -- even though it involved the two worst-performing teams in Taiwan’s top professional league.

The May 8 game, between New Taipei City’s Fubon Guardians and Tainan’s Uni-President Lions, was the world’s first major professional sporting event in the era of coronavirus to be staged with fans in the stands -- socially distanced, of course. When I arrived, Taiwanese and international media were busy photographing the first of 1,000 fans allowed to enter the stadium, which can seat 12,500.

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