NEW TAIPEI CITY, TAIWAN – The burly man carried his massive drum across the first level of Xinzhuang Stadium as if he was carrying an infant. He placed it behind a row of blue seats, rested his sticks on top of the drum and waited. He was one of the quietest men in the ballpark. But, eventually, that changed.
As soon as the Chinese Taipei National team hustled on to the field to play the visiting Major Leaguers, the man attacked the drums. He attacked them so vigorously that the folds of flesh on the back of his neck jiggled. The drummer was the essence of an intense fan, a portrait that was visible in hundreds of different shapes and colors throughout the stadium.
When Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson came to town, they noticed that the pulsating drums were only part of a festive atmosphere. The fans also played horns, they chanted rhythmically, they pounded Thunderstix, they danced on the dugouts and they treated a baseball game like a party.
“We need to bring some of this back to the states,” Granderson said.