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"The Michael Jordan of Taiwan"

Feb 19, 2010, 6:53 PM EDT


VIERA, Fla. — The pressure of rebounding from major injury to pitch again in the major leagues is daunting for anyone who dons a uniform. Now imagine doing all that while carrying the weight of an entire nation on your surgically repaired right shoulder.

Meet Chien-Ming Wang, a new face to fans in Washington but already THE face of baseball in Taiwan and China. During his introductory news conference this afternoon on the field at Space Coast Stadium, the 29-year-old right-hander was peppered with questions not only from English-speaking reporters who cover his new club on a daily basis but also from a much-larger horde of Asian correspondents who plan to follow his every move from here on out.

In America, Wang is a good (potentially great) solid starting pitcher. In Taiwan, he is everything.

"The Michael Jordan of Taiwan," general manager Mike Rizzo said.

Suffice it to say, the Nationals have never experienced anything quite like this in their brief history. And it's only going to grow. Though Wang — who signed a $2 million contract that includes up to $3 million more in incentives based on the number of starts he makesRead more ยป

  1. markfd - Feb 19, 2010 at 7:16 PM

    Mark – Thanks for the 1st class report on the CMW press conference.Interesting point that signing CMW gives the Nats an open door into the Chinese/Taiwan fan base but also the potential for more prospects from the region, which is something that was sorely lacking since 2005.

  2. Anonymous - Feb 19, 2010 at 7:36 PM

    I'm looking forward to inscrutable Chinese language advertising signs on the walls of Nationals Park that mean nothing to us locals but will be very important to the viewers in Taiwan. New source of revenue for the Lerners!Sec314

  3. sbrent - Feb 19, 2010 at 8:41 PM

    I'm sure the Chinese advertising will all be digitally inserted in China, and there probably won't be physical signs in Nats Park. Unless the local Chinese population/fan base becomes a significant marketing target. hey, this might make it fun to watch the game from China Town from time to time!

  4. Anonymous - Feb 19, 2010 at 8:46 PM

    CMW is everything in Taiwan especially after the 5th game-fixing scandal disclosed last year for the 20 years old Taiwanese professional baseball league. I believe Taiwanese media will live every CMW's game and probably 2-3 Nats games/week if Nats are above .500 this year. The past five years, ESPN Taiwan and another local TV network lived every Yankees game. Yankees was equal the Taiwan national baseball team. But after the signing, Nats will be the next Taiwan national baseball team for Taiwanese fans. That means $$$. I can imagine Taiwanese fans fly 8000 miles to DC for Wang's games.

  5. An Briosca Mor - Feb 19, 2010 at 9:43 PM

    As I recall, Michael Jordan sucked as a baseball player, not to mention he ended up being run out of DC on a rail. Perhaps Rizzo could have come up with a better analogy for CMW. "The Tiger Woods of Taiwan"? Nah.

  6. JMW4th - Feb 19, 2010 at 9:44 PM

    say Mark..besides you, who else is generally attending the press conferences with Riggles?trying to pick out the voices.

  7. Mark Zuckerman - Feb 19, 2010 at 9:47 PM

    JMW4th: Today's session included myself, Chico Harlan from the Post, Bill Ladson from MLB.com, Pete Kerzel from the AP, Mark DeCotis from Florida Today and several members of the Taiwanese media.

  8. Anonymous - Feb 19, 2010 at 9:52 PM

    This signing is starting to come into focus. CMW has potential on the field and the Nats have the marketing potential off the field. A risk worth taking from both sides. Well done. Mark keep up the good work. When pitchers and catchers report is that all minor league pitchers and minor league catchers as well?

  9. Mark Zuckerman - Feb 19, 2010 at 10:34 PM

    Oh, I somehow forgot to include the one and only Craig Heist of WTOP on my list of reporters at today's Riggleman session. The "Round Mound of Sound" deserves to be mentioned on his own.

  10. Avar - Feb 20, 2010 at 12:35 AM

    Thanks for the great piece. Exactly the kind of thing it's hard (impossible?) for us to get anywhere else. It's silly but I also liked the earlier post with all the uniform numbers. I've been looking for that for weeks. Thank you. My $20 is already worth it.

  11. Anonymous - Feb 20, 2010 at 12:37 AM

    i hope the company that makes the souvenir CMW jerseys – with his name in chinese on the back- isn't the one who can't spell nationals.

  12. Wally - Feb 20, 2010 at 2:55 AM

    Am I the only one to find this a potentially ominous quote? "Wang said he'll continue to rely on his heavy sinker as his bread-and-butter pitch, though he hopes to incorporate some new elements to his repertoire, understanding the surgery may require him to refashion himself as a pitcher"

  13. Heidi - Feb 28, 2010 at 12:52 PM

    He don't look like Michael Jordan,just kidding..So,he is really a good player huh?Because as what the article said he is the Michael Jordan in Taiwan..And Michael Jordan happened to be one of the most best player in the world.. arizona personal trainer

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