HONG KONG – Caliendo and Jose Au talk about the state of national baseball and its role in the lives of its players in Hong Kong
“In Hong Kong,” Au says, “baseball isn’t the first priority in the lives of its players. The women on Hong Kong’s international team aren’t strong enough to compete with women from Europe or America.”
As Au said, “It is very hard to develop baseball in Hong Kong because of the culture in place here.” To help baseball grow, Au has helped put baseball programs in the schools.
“So as you can see, baseball in Asia is treated very differently,” Au says. “In Hong Kong, parents don’t see the point of their kids playing sports. They want their kids to be lawyers and doctors so they don’t see the point in their kids playing sports.”
Caliendo then goes on to ask how Au practices with the team and what the team chemistry is like. Au answers “baseball at the highest level can be too serious and so you train kids to have fun with it.”
As a team, Au says, “ We only will get two days out of the week to practice because we have to share [the field?} with the men’s team and the national soccer team.” He says that his team’s pitchers do not throw hard enough to see curveballs so he calls the men’s team to come throw them so his hitters can see them.
Caliendo says he has noticed that Asian players typically do not swing completely; this is contrary to what Caliendo thinks is the most important thing about hitting drills: players need to make sure the finish is balanced, and players need to swing as hard as they can.
Au confirmed this and explained that players in Asia are scared to swing and miss so typically they will always swing for contact. He says that “Players will swing for contact because, if they swing and miss, when they go back to the dugout, their coaches will yell at them.’’
Au asserted earlier: “We can not compete with European and American teams.” Later in the interview, he elaborated: “ We try to change this, by doing fitness training. Although we do not have a gym, we work out in the parking lot.”
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