Guardians pitcher Bryan Woodall
Guardians pitcher Bryan Woodall

This is the latest – the fifth so far – in a series of interviews we did at different times in the 2020 CPBL baseball season, that we are reposting as we enter the final countdown ahead of the 2021 CPBL Season.

Just to whet your appetite.

Opening game, weather permitting, will be next weekend.

Last year it was all about beating COVID – and the CPBL, and Taiwan as a whole, did an excellent job in doing so, becoming the first baseball league in the world to get the games on, and eventually fans in the seats.

Here’s hoping for another year of COVID-free baseball, some great games, and memories for all – and for this man at a new team – the Wei Chuan Dragons, a successful season.

 

American pitcher Bryan Woodall first arrived in Taiwan back in 2015, when he signed for the CTBC Brothers in Taichung.

After three seasons with the Brothers he joined the Fubon Guardians in Xinzhuang, New Taipei City, in 2018, and has been with the team since.

In that time he has become one of the longest serving overseas pitchers in the CPBL, and has pitched 299.2 innings over 54 games for the Guardians, starting 49 of those games.

Just shy of pitching his 300th inning for the Guardians Of The North, we had a chat with Bryan ahead of his team’s 7-4 victory over the Uni-President Lions last night.

How would Bryan Woodall introduce Bryan Woodall?

In myself every day, I just want to work hard, and give as much back to the game as the game has given me.

I have been blessed to play now for 13 years in a professional league.

So, my goal is to try to make the most of every day, to work hard, and put everything into being as good as I can.

It is your third year here at the Guardians. How do you feel as part of the Fubon family?

I love it. It’s a great atmosphere. It’s a family atmosphere, top to bottom.

The organisation is well run. Great team mates, great staff, great front office, so I have no complaints. I have been very happy since I’ve been here.

They’ve taken care of me very well. I’m extremely grateful.

What did you know of the CPBL before you came to Taiwan?

I’d heard of a few guys who had come over and played here. But, I didn’t know a lot, so when I was introduced to the league and (was) handed an offer I asked around, but really didn’t know a lot.

It was a case of show up and make the most of every day, and try to get to know guys as quickly as I could, and make the most of my opportunity.

What highlights have had to date as part of the team?

Being a part of a first class organisation, both with the Brothers and now with the Guardians since I’ve been here.

Also, the fans, the people and the friends I’ve made since I’ve been here, the team mates, the staff, the front office, anyone who has helped me with anything I’ve needed as far as taking care of myself, and taking care of my family.

The biggest thing I try to take away from every opportunity is to work hard, and be as good as I can, so (I can) build relationships, and make new friends, and I think I’ve made a lot of friends and made the most of my opportunities since I’ve been here.

Guardians pitcher Bryan Woodall post-interview
Guardians pitcher Bryan Woodall post-interview
The team, and yourself, have had mixed seasons so far. How do you see the rest of the first half of the 2020 season panning out?

I think we’re just taking it day by day right now and trying to correct all the little things that we can, and trying to get better as a team.

Being in a four team league, you never know what can happen, but ultimately you have to look at where you are today, and take small steps to get better each day.

(and speaking out in the open just to the rear of home plate on a sweltering 34+ day in north Taiwan) How do you cope with the heat here in Taiwan?

It’s actually very similar to where I live back home.

I’m a little south of Atlanta, so we have the high heat summer, the high humidity, so very similar in that aspect, though it does get a little hotter here when it peaks than it does back home.

It’s difficult at times.

  • – at this point Bryan did pause a moment to wipe away the sweat. And laughs…

You grow to get used to it though.

But it’s a different heat. When you walk out it is like a blowdryer hitting you in the face.

Away from baseball, how do you relax?

This year, unfortunately my family is not out, so I spend a lot of time hanging out with either Mike (Loree), or Henry (Sosa) – fellow Guardians pitchers – and just enjoying food, or relaxing when we have down time at my apartment.

Do you watch much baseball on your days off?

Yeah, I do. Not every off day, but some off days I do. I love the game. I enjoy just watching baseball in general, and trying to learn any time I get an opportunity to watch someone else.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

You know, I haven’t really thought about it. I have been asked this question numerous times in my life, and I don’t really know.

I just try to make the most of today, and see what’s put in front of me, and where God wants me to go, from the next day and forward.

I’m always trying to make the most of today.

Art by one of Bryan's fans
Art by one of Bryan’s fans
And last one – showing Bryan the fan pic above – any message for this fan if we can help them hear it?

(smiles) Thank you very much. I am extremely grateful. All the pictures up there are great.

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