Ni Hao from Beijing
Hello, MLBloggers! Am over here at the Summer Olympics and back at the end of August, so hold down the fort while I’m away. Got here a couple of days before Opening Ceremony, am with the USA Baseball Team the whole way. So Wukesong Stadium is pretty much my office. What you notice most are the volunteers — about 100,000 kids mainly college-age, wearing the familiar uniforms with blue “Beijing 2000” tech shirts, khakis and yellow-striped running shoes. They are everywhere. My “Taxi Cards” are a lifeline — just show what you want/where you want to go, and each has Chinese lettering symbols on the card as well as my phonetic pronunciation. Gradually learning some Mandarin that I will forget in a few weeks, and yesterday spoke the universal language when I went on a 2-hour training run along Badaling Expressway and stopped 1:30 into the run to watch 5-on-5 hoops (basketball is huge here thanks to Yao) at a park. A man asked me if I want to play (he didn’t really ask, he gestured), and I said by all means I would love to with all my heart (I didn’t really speak, I gestured). They were great games and at the end I did a Cal Ripken lap around shaking every man’s hand. In that moment everything was perfect in the world, and we all spoke the same and believed in sports. You can find my coverage around the clock at MLB.com, as our “Baseball at the Olympics” writer over here. Keep the blogging going strong, and pardon the interruption in watching it all happen but I’m following a quest for the gold and seeing the sights. Remember to leave lots of comments here with your URL as another way for people to find your blog. I am looking forward to seeing the Men’s Marathon on the final day, I am still looking forward to a scrumptious Peking Duck, I still have to see the Great Wall and compare it to the Green Monster, and the two things that have struck me most are (a) how much BS the overblown hype about air pollution was as I am marathon training just fine in it, and (b) they actually grew ivy outside the building structure of Wukesong Field 2 because our friend Murray Cook told them about Wrigley ivy. By the way, get to know Murray — he’s one of our four original MLBloggers circa April 2005, and he is the person who created the baseball experience here in Beijing, turning a parking lot into Major League caliber ball fields and teaching people who didn’t know what “base” meant how to groundskeep. My BlackBerry has smoke coming out of it because of the constant updates from MLB clubs about their latest announcements as well as every USOC event update from Michael Phelps to pistol to rowing…and I am loving it. As they say here: “Bye-Bye” (I had a hard time learning that one).