Reds Director of Media Relations Rob Butcher is currently in Taiwan working the World Baseball Classic qualifiers on behalf of Major League Baseball. He’s been kind enough to document his experience for Better Off Red with posts and pictures. Enjoy!

For the second straight day rain forced the cancellation of batting practice on the field, but after a delay of 5 hours and 9 minutes host Chinese Taipei beat New Zealand, 9-0, to advance to the third World Baseball Classic in March. Chinese Taipei finished the qualifier with a 3-0 record behind 3 shutuouts, while New Zealand went 2-2.

In the opener of the Panama City qualifier on Saturday, manager Barry Larkin’s Team Brazil beat the Colombia club led by manager Eduardo Perez, 7-1, to advance to Monday’s championship game. In Saturday’s nightcap, host Panama eliminated Nicaragua, 6-2. Colombia and Panama will meet at 7:00 p.m. ET Sunday, with that winner to meet Brazil in the final at 8:00 p.m. ET. Monday night’s championship game can be watched live on MLB Network and worldbaseballclassic.com.

If you’re counting, and you can believe I was, the rain delays over Saturday and Sunday totaled 9 hours and 47 minutes. At least Sunday’s rain delay was entertaining, thanks to players from both teams occasionally coming out of their dugouts to throw balls into the stands or dance Gangnam style, a couple of fans who ran onto the tarp for a quick dance near pitcher’s mound and a shoeless and sockless New Zealand player who put a pair of baseball pants over his head and shoes on his hands to make it look like he was walking on his hands. The hand walker was very, very entertaining.

As the photos indicate, despite the weather the fans at Xinzhuang Baseball Stadium were in a very festive mood as they came to watch their team in the tournament final. Mascots were out in full force, fans were getting tattoos on their faces, young workers at souvenir stands were selling their wares, and the stinky tofu was, well, stinky. As often noted in the hometown newspaper social pages, a good time was had by all.

So long, Taiwan. It now is safe to cheer in the press box….

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