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The atmosphere during Chinese Taipei’s WBC win vs. Italy makes the World Series look like wiffle ball

You’ve heard it before, thousands and thousands of times probably. Now you’re going to hear it again: Baseball is a dying sport. They can inflate bases to the size of beach balls, start every inning with runners taking a huge lead off third, and turn every pitch into a buzzer beater. It’s not going to work. Like golf, baseball is better as a niche sport. Stat-driven, strategy-based, culture-obsessed. Emphasizing these elements would play to the modern game’s strengths, but Rob Manfred and co. are have been too busy trying to mask its weaknesses to notice.

This all comes with one big caveat, however: Baseball is a dying sport...in America. Elsewhere in the world, especially the Far East, baseball actually is a national pastime. Don’t believe us? Just check out the scenes from Chinese Taipei’s World Baseball Classic Pool A game against Italy on Friday.

Holy smokes. This makes “Sweet Caroline” sound like a commercial jingle for a candy bar only your grandma likes. It was just the start too. The atmosphere ratched up moments later when Chinese Taipei—who played a defacto home game in Taichung on Friday—took the lead with the help of a uniquely baseball thrill:

The slow-roller.

Then, just as everyone was catching their breath, Chinese Taipei lit the stadium absolutely ablaze with a three-run moonshot in the eighth inning to blow the game wide open. Cue the pandemonium.

No offense to any American fanbase—the ride-or-dies never waver and fans usually warm to their task when the weather cools—but even then it’s not like this. It's never like this. This is college football times the Premier League divided by Wrestlemania and it is absolutely glorious. So maybe instead babbling on about baseball being dead, we should be singing a happier tune:

Baseball is alive and well … somewhere.

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