On thedevelopment of his signature sinker
I'd never throwna two-seam sinker until two years ago in the minors, when the pitching coachestold me to try it. Before, I used four-seam fastballs and sliders.
On his celebritystatus in his native Taiwan
I wasn't preparedfor it. Since [my rookie season] last year, when I go back I have to meet witha lot of people, like government officials. It has become inconvenient to goout to eat. People at other tables will point and go, "That's WangChien-Ming." They'll come over and ask for an autograph.
On gettingstarted in baseball
At elementaryschool [in Tainan] my classmates and I played basketball. One day a coach cameup and asked if I wanted to play baseball. I told him I had to go home and askmy mom.
On his originalcareer plans
I planned ondoing my mandatory military service after college. Then I was going to see if Icould get into the Taiwan pro league. It wasn't until my sophomore year [at theTaipei College of Physical Education] that some major league scouts came to seeme. From then on I was in touch with people from American baseball.
On signing withthe Yankees and coming to the U.S. in 2000
I was thinking myfamily was in Taiwan, and America was so far away. I asked my mom and dad whatthey thought, and they said, "If it's a good team, you should go." So Icame to America.
On adjusting tothe U.S.
The hardest partwas when I got here, I couldn't speak any English. Doing anything was hard. Ihad an interpreter for a year. Then, in the minor leagues we had caretakers Iwould go to--if I got a letter, I asked them to explain it to me. Now I learnEnglish through my teammates and watching movies.
On hanging out inChinese-American communities
I don't go outmuch in New York. I just go from home to Yankee Stadium and from the stadiumhome. On the road it's hard to visit areas with a lot of Chinese-Americansbecause if I go out, I get recognized.
On his reputationfor being quiet
I'm prettyintroverted. I like to just sit there listening to everybody else making aracket, laughing and goofing off. I can understand their jokes more now. Oncein a while I'll make one back.
On the rookiehazing tradition
They don't havethis in Taiwan. Last year we were leaving for an away game, and my suits weremissing. There were cheerleading uniforms, you know, for girls. It wasembarrassing to go out in a dress.
On the future ofTaiwanese players
If I play wellhere, more teams will go to Taiwan for players. I want to be a role model. WhenI return to Taiwan, sometimes I coach kids. Even better players will emergefrom the next generation.
WANG, 26, WENT19--6 WITH A 3.63 ERA THIS YEAR. HE WAS TO PITCH GAME 1 AGAINST THE TIGERS ONTUESDAY.
Photograph by K.C. Armstrong