Reds Director of Media Relations Rob Butcher is currently in Taiwan working the World Baseball Classic qualifiers on behalf of Major League Baseball. He was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to check in with a blog post and send some photos. Enjoy!

Greetings from New Taipei City, Taiwan, home of one of Major League Baseball’s four qualifying tournaments for the 2013 World Baseball Classic. I told Jamie I would try and report from here as often as I could and provide some photos from what will be an exciting event that starts Thursday and includes teams from Taiwan (Chinese Taipei), New Zealand, Philippines and Thailand. The winners of this qualifier and the Panama City tournament, also being held this week, will advance to the third WBC in March. Panama, Nicaragua, Brazil (managed by Reds and Cooperstown Hall of Famer Barry Larkin) and Colombia (managed by former Reds first baseman Eduardo Perez) will compete at Rod Carew National Stadium.

Fans can follow this week’s tournaments at www.worldbaseballclassic.com. The championship games can be seen live on MLB Network at 1:00 a.m. ET Sunday (Taiwan final) and at 8:00 p.m. ET next Monday (Panama City final). Spain, which won the September qualifier in Jupiter, Florida, and Canada, who advanced out of the bracket in Regensburg, Germany, already have advanced.

Today’s blog photos were taken in Xinyi District, Taipei, where our hotel is located. I compare this part of the city to Chicago, with its wide, clean streets. You’ll notice in the photos lots of motorcycles, a very popular method of transportation here. They zigzag between the cars, and at every stop light a contingent of motorcycles finds its way to the front of the line. It’s very interesting to watch. One of the photos is of Taipei 101, formerly known as the Taipei World Financial Center. It is a landmark skyscraper, with 101 floors above ground and 5 floors underground, that ranked as the world’s tallest building from 2004 until the opening of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai in 2010.

I’ll keep you updated on events WBC Taiwan headquarters. Tomorrow we’ll post photos from Xinzhuang Baseball Stadium.

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