By 7 a.m. last Saturday morning, nine hours before the start of
the 50th Little League World Series final, the 14 players from
the city of Kao-Hsuing in Chinese Taipei were already at Howard
J. Lamade Stadium in Williamsport, Pa., where they began the
first of two 90-minute pregame practice sessions. Their
opponents that afternoon, from Cranston, R.I., were not due for
a wake-up call for another hour. "But that's their culture,"
Cranston manager Mike Varrato said later. "They have to win."
There was little doubt that they would. Kao-Hsuing had outscored
its four previous opponents 49-6, and on Saturday they beat
Cranston 13-3 for Chinese Taipei's seventh title in 11 years.
"I've never seen anything so beautiful as the way they play
baseball," Cesar Nicolas Felipe, manager of the team from San
Isidro, Dominican Republic, said after Kao-Hsuing beat his squad
7-1 in last Thursday's semifinal.
In the title game the champions also struck a blow against their
reputation for cold efficiency. About to bat in the top of the
fourth and leading only 4-2, the Chinese Taipei players queued
up along the third base line during a television break and,
along with the Cranston players, performed the ubiquitous
macarena. "I thought it would be a good opportunity for the kids
to relax and have fun," manager Tung-Yu Ho said. Chinese Taipei
scored three runs in that at bat and six in the next to trigger
the 10-run mercy rule after the fifth inning. Perhaps the
Philadelphia Phillies should think macarena.
Hsieh Chin-Hsiung, who is 4'11" and weighs 95 pounds, batted
.706 and broke the Little League record for home runs in a
series with his seventh on Saturday. "Do you feel like a hero?"
Hsieh was asked after the game. An interpreter answered: "He
says a little bit." Hsieh was then asked what he wants to do
when he gets back to his country. "He says he just wants to go
home," the interpreter said. "Me, I just want to get some real
COLOR PHOTO: AL TIELEMANS Chinese Taipei players dance to the music: First they shake their hips and let their backbones slip. Then they go yard. [Chinese Taipei baseball players dancing macarena]