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August 15, 2006

Behind The Scenes On W-K-W 40

Some interesting news about Worm Killer Wang, via the Times yesterday:

Wang, who is scheduled to start at Yankee Stadium today against the Los Angeles Angels, has become more than the best ground-ball pitcher in the American League. At 26, he is a national hero in his home country, where he endorses computers and potato chips.

"When I used to go back to Taiwan, there weren't that many events to go to," Wang said through an interpreter before a game in Chicago last week. "Starting last year, there have been more events, and going out is not as convenient."

The kinds of events he attends are telling. "Going to orphanages," Wang said, "and events for premature babies."

Wang started playing baseball in fourth grade, as a pitcher, first baseman and outfielder. He attended high school in Taipei, on the north side of the island of Taiwan. His home, Tainan, is in the south. It was through baseball that he learned an important part of his personal story.

"We were going out to a competition and needed our personal documents," Wang said, explaining that meant the names, relationships and birthdates of family members. "When I got my documents, I learned who my biological parents were. My parents didn't tell me."

Wang found out then that his biological father was the man he knew as his uncle, Ping-Yin Wang. Wang's parents had no children of their own and offered to raise him. They later had a daughter, Hsiu-Wen Wang, who is two years younger.

It must have been a startling revelation, but Wang betrayed no emotion when talking about it.

OK, that's all touching personal stuff. But, here's some very interesting baseball stuff from the same feature:

Wang credits his sinker to Neil Allen, his pitching coach at Columbus in 2004, and Sal Fasano, who caught him then.

"He's got that unique ability that whatever you teach him, he can throw with almost immediate success," said Fasano, now the Yankees' backup catcher. "But that's why you have to be careful."

In Columbus, Wang threw six pitches, which Fasano said he considered too many. Wang took to the sinker so quickly, Fasano said, that it made sense to master that pitch and throw it roughly 90 percent of the time.

Huh? Just ten days ago, there was a story out that Billy Connors taught Wang the sinker.

I have to go with Allen now - since the source is Wang himself.

And, of course, thank you Sal Fasano too!

Posted by Steve Lombardi at August 15, 2006 04:13 PM

Comments

Don't you mean Jeffrey Tambor?

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 15, 2006 04:41 PM

Ever since that Jeffrey Tambor post, I only see him when watching the great Sal Fasano. By the way, this also matches with what I've seen on tv. The camera's caught Fasano and Wang in conversation in the dugout a few times.

Posted by: Nick from Washington Heights [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 15, 2006 05:13 PM

I like how Wang's slider and change up both looked good last time around, if he could throw both of those efffectively AND have his sinker at 100% he is one nasty pitcher.

Posted by: Yu Hsing Chen [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 15, 2006 11:17 PM