Chinese Taipei Baseball All-Star Chien-Ming Wang + The Unknown Factor Against Kung Fu Panda & MLB All-Stars = 2011 Taiwan All-Star Series

Could this be the Year of the Panda? Coined “Kung Fu Panda” for jumping over a catcher at home plate to score a run and demonstrating acrobatic play at the end of the 2008 season by San Francisco Giants pitcher Barry Zito, switch-hitting infielder Pablo Sandoval from Venezuela has been at the center of “panda-monium” since the Giants won the 2010 World Series. Kung Fu Panda’s good luck charm and real-life manager, San Francisco Giants skipper Bruce Bochy, is also the manager for the visiting MLB All-Stars during the five-game 2011 Taiwan All-Star Series against the talented Chinese Taipei National Baseball Team. Sandoval will be eating his share of fortune cookies as he faces off against MLB’s Taiwanese-born pitcher Chien-Ming Wang in a Chinese Taipei uniform and a slew of unknown hurlers for the first time ever in Taiwan. Sandoval is not alone as only four of the players on the MLB All-Stars roster have had any at bats against MLB.com’s 2006 Starting Pitcher of the Year.  In the 2006 and 2007 seasons during which Wang led the New York Yankees pitching staff with nineteen wins each year, infielder Ty Wigginton batted a respectable .353 and outfielder Curtis Granderson put together a lukewarm .273 batting average against Wang. More recently this season, utilityman Emilio Bonifacio and pitcher Dillion Gee managed to squeak a hit each during Chien-Ming Wang’s comeback year after a long bout with injuries, surgery and rehab assignments. Former New York Yankee teammate and current MLB All-Star Robinson Cano looks forward to seeing Wang–even if he is playing for Chinese Taipei. He commented, “Wang’s a good person both on and off the field, and he always works hard on the mound. I’m happy to see that he’s back from his injury, and I believe he’ll be able to continue to maintain his health and have a bright future.”

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Roberto Angotti

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