Today, I spent the afternoon watching the American pasttime, in Shanghai. Baseball, or 棒球(bangqiu) in Chinese, we know has spread throughout the world; in China, however, it’s not a very popular sport. Interest in baseball, however, is growing, especially in cosmopolitan Shanghai. Baseball has a long history in Shanghai (dating back to the Republican period, 1911-1949), played by many of the Christian colleges that were established in Shanghai. Even Babe Ruth and other major league all stars played in Shanghai, as part of a famous barnstorming team that toured Asia. With the globalization of the city and its universities, baseball is back on Shanghai campuses. Today, Fudan’s baseball team played against East China Polytechnic (华东理工大学), to start a tournament between the universities in Shanghai; it was played on a soccer field at the Shanghai International Studies University (上海外国语大学 yes, I know it’s different, but that’s the English translation on the main gate of the school). Although they may not be as good as American college baseball teams, their hearts are just as into the game. Almost all the players did not start playing baseball until they came to college; many of the players on these club teams are actually graduate students, since it takes a while to develop the skills. They have a professor from the physical education department who runs both the men’s baseball and women’s softball team, but the guys also have two Japanese coaches to guide the team.
Fudan started off in the hole, yielding four runs to East China Polytechnic, but they came back with three of their own in the top of the second. East China Polytechnic, however, scored another three runs in the bottom of the second; however, in the last inning (actually the fourth, since time ran out with the next scheduled game), Fudan scored six runs to gain the lead. They were able to hold off East China Polytechnic during their last at bats, and joyfully won the first game of the tournament. Their next game is this Sunday at 3:00, against a team to be determined. I’ll try to post an update once the tournament ends!