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China Baseball Road Trip

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Day 1 FridayLeft the USA for Beijing to begin our China baseball adventure!
Day 2 SaturdayArrived in Beijing where we were met at the airport and whisked away to the Park Plaza Science Hotel.
Day 3 SundayToured the hutong historic district in rickshaws and visited a prince's palace.  After lunch, we traveled to Tsinghua University to play their club team in Game #1.  Later that evening, we were hosted at a welcome banquet.
Day 4 Monday After a morning visiting the Summer Palace and a visit to a nearby pearl factory, we played game #2 vs the Evil Umpires at Tsinghua University.
Day 5 TuesdayWe took advantage of our off day to visit the the Great Wall of China, Ming Tombs, and a Jade factory.  To top off our day, we attended an evening performance at the Chinese Acrobatics Theater. 
Day 6 WednesdayAfter a morning visit to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, we traveled to Beijing Polytechnic University to play game #3 versus the Polar Bears, a team made of university faculty members.
Day 7 ThursdayA rare morning game game #4 versus the Tsinghua University Graduates baseball team. After lunch, we visited silk alley, home to over 1,700 retail vendors and notorious among international tourists for their wide selection of  designer brand apparel.
Day 8  FridayWe visited the Temple of Heaven, attended a tea shop ceremony, and saw how silk is made during a presentation at a silk factory.  In the afternoon, we played game #5 vs Beijing Tigers where we renewed a rivalry that dates back 15 years. We then concluded the day and our trip with an evening farewell dinner with the Beijing Tigers team.
Day 9 SaturdayLeft for the USA as an undefeated team of international baseball stars!



  
Our first day of sightseeing was of the hutong district where we first pick our rickshaw driver and away we went to tour.



Hutongs are alleys formed by lines of traditional courtyard residences with neighborhoods formed by joining one blocks of homes together.



Streets of shops are intertwined with hutong homes as we stroll the district on foot on the second part of the tour.



Evidentially under the watchful eye of government security, our guide and friend Yang explains to Dave Kelpin that the "ancient" musical instrument he just bought outside the Prince's Palace is actually just a stick with two carrots and a string.



We played four of our games on Tsinghua University's newly installed turf baseball field.  Tsinghua is the top engineering and science university in all of China.

 

Tsinghua University was originally established in 1911 with the  motto "Self-Discipline and Social Commitment".  The university is dedicated to academic excellence, the well-being of Chinese society and to global development.



  
Game action versus the Tsinghua University club team we were able to defeat 11-4 on a beautiful day in Beijing.



Madame Zhang hosts our team at the welcome banquet held in our honor after our first game where the food was delicious and plentiful.


  
Construction of the Summer Palace started in 1750 as a luxurious royal garden for royal families to rest and entertain. It later became the main residence of royal members in the end of the Qing Dynasty.



Moments after taking this picture of the Chinese Opera stage in the Summer Palace we were treated to a Chinese Opera performance.



Inside the Summer Palace, the largest and most well preserved royal park in China.  The large pot was filled with water in case of fire.



Yang, our dedicated guide who has worked with us for 15 years, explains the history of the Summer Palace to the Boys of Beijing.


 
Dragon boats operate on the lake at the Summer Palace. On the right is the view from the back to the front exclusive Foreign Devils dragon boat excursion across the lake to the Temple Island. Nothing but the best for you guys!



Part of the Summer Place as seen from our boat as we cross the lake.


Lake views of the bridges connecting islands at the Summer Palace



Game two against the Evil Umpires was a hard fought battle. Here catcher Dave Gordon looks on as Johnny tags out the runner at home plate in a 12-7 Foreign Devils victory.



Johnny O'Rourke meets the world famous Japanese baseball player Shohei Osata.  Shohei's nickname is Six Hits which commemorates his getting six hits in one game.



The Ming Tombs are located northwest of Beijing and are thirteen tombs dating from the Ming Dynasty.  Just one of the tombs is open to the public.


 
Construction of the necropolis spanned more than two hundred years, almost throughout the entire Ming Dynasty: The first tomb was built in 1409, and the last one in 1644.


No trip to China would be complete without a visit to The Great Wall.

 

 A series of fortifications made of stone, brick and wood make up the Great Wall that stretched 5,500 miles at one time.

 


Some of our group posing for a photo on the Great Wall moments before an international incident occurred there.



Strange foreigners play wiffle ball on the Great Wall of China.  Here David Gordon (have to list someone's name for the police) gets ready to belt one out. 


The Gang Of Four at a night club moments before the police raided the joint and arrested them for wearing shorts to a night club.


 
The gardens on Tiananmen Square with the crowds in the distance as we walked through on our way to the Forbidden City.


 
Entrance to the Forbidden City has a welcome portrait of Mao greeting the Foreign Devils.





Two panoramic views inside the Forbidden City, the imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty through the Qing Dynasty. 
 

Consisting of 980 buildings, the Forbidden City is a UNESCO World Heritage site.


The Forbidden City spirits come to life at night!


Dave Kelpin mingles with the Beijing Polytechnic University Polar Bears team before our game.  We mixed team for this one and everyone had a blast meeting and playing with our Chinese hosts.



Game action at North Beijing Polytechnic University versus the Polar Bear baseball team.



Looking for love, Johnny gives a gift.  Dave Fantin, on the other hand, has no gift and strikes out while Dave Kelpin tries to see how far he can get with a baseball gift to an unsuspecting sorority girl.



Ryan Isbell and Dave Kelpin discuss the outfield defensive alignment and were they are going out clubbing that night between innings.



After a post game dinner with the Polar Bears, Dave Kelpin's advances to the school's kung fu instructor were meet with the usual rebuff.



Jim Isbell played 3rd base like Brooks Robinson and soon won over the crowd.  A university sorority made "We Love Jim Isbell" characters and as you can see hung them on the left field fence in his honor.



Al Pellegrini lines up at short as Johnny O'Rourke delivers the pitch.  Both Johnny and Al were 2-0 for the week pitching.


  We w
We won our game versus the Tsinghua Grads by a score of 11-7 even though this guy looks like he is ready to pull off the hidden ball trick.




Morning game versus the Tsinghua Baseball Grads



After the game, it was off to lunch where we had Chinese food for the first time since dinner last night.




Our large and comfortable bus gave room for everyone to spread out and nod off after a busy day of sightseeing and baseball.


  
A visit to Silk Alley isn't what it used to be.  No more alley, just a department store like building with all the big brand names now missing due to China's strong enforcement of trademark infringement laws.



The Temple of Heaven was the place where the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties would worship the god of heaven and pray for good harvest.



While we were at the Temple of Heaven a new Emperor was crowned. Sadly, Dave wore the dress all day and was tagged out at 2nd when he tripped over it trying to leg out a triple in the afternoon game.



In Memorial: In 2002, George Goodall dresses as Emperor to pick up Chinese girls at the Temple of Heaven



Our final game in China was a 12-2 win over the Beijing Tigers.



The Foreign Devils in all their glory. A Foreign Devils team photo after our victory.


   

2001 Flash Back: John Gilmore's 3-run homer leads us to victory in our final game!  Boy, you'd think this Gilmore guy does the web pages . . . . 

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