If ball fans of any team in Taiwan were asked for the name of one to watch for the future, for a player that opposing fans worry about every time he walks up to the batters’ box, and for a youngster they would probably like in their own line-up, the name An-Ko Lin would feature in many discussions.
The youngster currently playing no.77 for the Uni-Lions in Tainan is playing off a .352 batting average going in to today’s game against the CTBC Brothers in Taichung, and in just 46 games with 179 at-bats has homered 15 times, has made it to first base 32 times, and has seen his efforts contribute 50 RBIs.
Not bad for a modest lad who likes fishing as a way to relax, and went to ask his parents if he could get involved in the sport as a kid.
Hear what he had to say to friend of The Taiwan Times, Henry Hsing, in a recent chat down in his home stadium in Tainan.
How would you introduce yourself?
Hi everyone, I a, An-Ko Lin, a young outfielder for the Uni-Lions baseball team. I’m 23 years old.
How did you get into baseball?
I saw my cousin playing baseball in Nan Ying High School in Tainan on TV, and it interested me as a kid so I asked my parents if I could play, and I haven’t stopped playing since.
Did you have any ‘heroes’ in the game when you were growing up?
My personal hero is Hong-Chih Kuo who used to play in the MLB. He was a senior from my school and he returned to the school from time to time sharing his baseball stories and techniques with us.
How about favourite teams?
None really. I had my favourite players so I liked to watch the players play and their games.
How did you come to join the Lions?
I was drafted directly into the Lions and felt really happy because I am from Tainan and it feels good to play in my hometown. I joined the team last year in July.
What has been your career highlight to date.
Right now, my main focus is to contribute to the team and do whatever it takes to get on base.
But my own personal highlight so far was in this year’s game against the Brothers where I hit a grand slam home run. That really felt like I’d accomplished a milestone in my career.
The Lions are the most successful ever team in Taiwanese baseball in terms of Series won. Why has the team struggled in recent years?
Well I have just signed with the Lions and I believe the team is working really hard to win but the hard times we have had recently might be down to simply a lack of luck in the games we have played.
We are making adjustments to our game though to become better and better.
And how about under COVD-19 – how has that been for you and the team?
There hasn’t been much of an influence although there was a slight delay in when we opened the season, but I felt safer overall and we had more practice time.
How do you relax away from the ballpark?
I really enjoy fishing. I feel really relaxed, and like to go fishing in Tainan area fishing ponds from time to time.
And five years from now, where do you see yourself?
My goal is to play for as long as possible. I’m really interested in pitching as well.
That is my ideal position and I’d like to pitch and bat at the same time.
That said, my pitching didn’t go so smoothly in the beginning, but I hope I can improve over time and end up pitching in the future.