What a trip…
It’s hard to even know where to start with this amazing trip to China. Regardless of how today’s game turns out (we’re currently losing 5-3 in the sixth inning), this has been every bit as incredible as we had hoped.
In addition to an early morning trip yesterday to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, after yesterday’s game we had a very special look at Chinese culture. Joseph Reaves, who joined the team last year as Director of International Operations and the guy who was the team’s main liaison for the trip, arranged for a private tour on rickshaw through the hutongs of Beijing, which are the older neighborhoods that have not been run over by all the changes here during the past few years. In addition to stopping by the house that Chairman Mao lived in during his twenties, just the smells of food being cooked and the up close view we got of one of the courtyard homes was one of the true highlights of the trip.
We’ve also had the chance to eat some very authentic food, much of which I actually don’t even know what I was eating, but the Peking Duck (or Beijing Duck, as it’s now called) was pretty good.
The weather, which was supposed to be very cold, has been incredibly nice. A little brisk, but nothing too bad and certainly better than Wrigley in April.
One thing you definitely notice in this city is just how many government workers are around on every corner. It seems that almost every 20 steps, there is one or two police officers or army personnel standing around and it’s not as though they’re watching our every step (or at least it doesn’t seem they are). It’s a very interesting dichotomy between the communist government and capitalist society. I can’t say we’ve been here long enough to truly understand it all, but it’s definitely unique to witness.
At the end of the day, though, this trip has been about goodwill and you can really tell just how much we’re able to see that coming to life before our eyes. Just the fact that the TV production crew that is bringing the game to FSN Prime Ticket right now is made up of both people from China and Chinese Taipei says something about the bridge the game is building here. There are Dodger logos all over Beijing now that these people will wear with a true understanding of what they mean. In fact, we brought with us several hundred LA pins that we had intended to give to just the media but we’ve handed them out to every stadium worker, security guard, police officer in sight and they are genuinely very appreciative of the gesture. With each one we hand out, we have been saying, "shay shay need ah bong mong," which means "Thank you for your help."
We also had the chance to introduce Jet Li to a number of our players before he threw out the first pitch. His "One Foundation" seemingly does great work here in China and it’s amazing to think about his goal…1 person + 1 dollar + 1 month = one big family. If every person simply gave one dollar a month, the goodwill that would ensue is hard to fathom, especially in a country with 1.3 billion people.
I’m sure there’s tons I’m forgetting, but hopefully all the media coverage will fill in some of the blanks. Among the many places to look are MLB.com/dodgers.com, FSN Prime Ticket, KABC 790, Yahoo Sports, the Los Angeles Times, FOX News, and ESPN the Magazine, as reporters from all of those outlets have come with us to document this historic series.