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GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas (AP) — The starting lineups are announced in English and Spanish at home games for the independent Texas AirHogs, and then the Chinese national anthem is played.
For about 30 members of the Chinese national baseball team, the suburban ballpark adjacent to a horse track and only a few miles west of downtown Dallas has become their summer home and training ground in an unprecedented setup.
The article goes on to state the following:
They are a revolving part of the roster for a professional team in the United States, playing more games and against tougher competition while working to improve their team for future international events such as the upcoming Asian Games and 2020 Olympics.
“The system that they’ve created here, where we work out in the morning, we’ve got weight training, the pitchers have a system where we throw on, the coaches have kind of set up a system that’s really helped them to be able to make the adjustment to play more games,” Sun Jianzeng, a 26-year-old right-hander, said through a translator.
Chinese players, who professionally back home would play only 20-30 games a season, make up about two-thirds of the expanded roster for the American Association team now formally known as the AirHogs powered by Beijing Shougang Eagles. The players ranging in age from 18 to 29 rotate on and off the active roster to play 6-7 games a week in one of the low-minor leagues not affiliated with Major League Baseball.
“It makes it workable, because we don’t want to wear these guys down,” said AirHogs manager John McLaren, a big league coach for three decades who has worked with Chinese teams since 2011.
The AirHogs are a league-worst 17-44 this season, but player-coach Na Chuang said the team has progressed faster than expected, increasing the confidence of the Chinese players who will leave with McLaren and some of their national coaches for the Asian Games in Indonesia before the end of the 100-game AirHogs season.
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