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Mudville, Taiwan

There was no joy in Taiwan this week, as the island's baseball team — once the pride of the nation — suffered two embarrassing losses in the first round of the World Baseball Classic in Tokyo.

First it was a thumping 9-0 loss Friday to South Korea. The two Asian tigers, which are at similar stages of economic and democratic development, have long been baseball arch-rivals. But in the last few years Taiwan hasn't been able to compete.

Even worse, though, was Saturday's 4-1 loss to political rival China. The Apple Daily front page headline above sums it up in colloquial Chinese, which roughly translates as "So depressing — we lost again, to China." The photos of crying fans and a field blooper just rub it in.