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NTHU Freshman Signs Up with US Baseball Team
Chen Sheng-ping, a freshman in the Department of Sports Science, recently become the first student in the history of NTHU to join an American professional baseball team. On July 2 it was announced on the official website of the Arizona Diamondbacks that Chen has been signed up as a shortstop for its minor league team. After graduating from Hsinchu’s Chengde High School last month, Chen was admitted to the Athletics Competition Group of NTHU’s Department of Sports Science.
 
NTHU president Hocheng Hong heard the news while on a trip abroad, and upon returning he immediately had a meeting with Chen, during which he congratulated Chen and assured him that NTHU is willing to support him in every way it can.
 
Last year NTHU’s Sports Technology Center was set up by Wu Cheng-wen, distinguished chair professor of the Department of Electrical Engineering, who was a famous pitcher in his youth. Wu has recruited ten faculty members from five NTHU departments (Electrical Engineering, Physical Education, Computer Science, Power Mechanical Engineering, and Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management), plus one orthopedic surgeon and two off-campus teachers, to create a baseball training system making use of the latest advances in artificial intelligence. Hocheng said that the Sports Technology Center is planning to record the postures used by Chen while batting, throwing, catching, etc., all of which will be entered into a database and used to help him improve his performance.
 
NTHU launched an experimental program which allows students to propose their own course of study with on- or off-campus curriculum,
 
and academic credit can be earned for off-campus and overseas experience. Thus it will be possible for Chen to simultaneously pursue his academic and baseball careers.
 
Chen said that his interest in baseball began as a young boy, when he used to watch his father playing softball and help out with carrying the equipment. By the time he started school he already had a passion for baseball. His parents agreed to allow him to transfer to an elementary school with a baseball team, and his talent soon became obvious. “At first,” said Chen, “I set my sights on a career in Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League, so when I was offered a contract with an American team I was amazed and overjoyed!”
 
Chen’s family has always been highly supportive of his dream to become a professional baseball player. He recalls how his father used to exhort him by saying, “If you’re set on playing baseball, then give it all you’ve got, and don’t give up.”
 
Chen has long been in the limelight for being a versatile player due to the fact he can play all nine positions on the field, including pitcher and catcher. Last year he was selected as the most valuable player in both the NIKE Taiwan Youth League training camp and the Fubon U-18 Future Star Game. For signing up with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Chen received a bonus of US$300,000.
 

From left to right: NTHU baseball coach Lin Kun-han, Department of Sports Science director Chiu Wen-hsin, NTHU senior vice president Chou Hwai-pwu, Hocheng Hong, Chen Sheng-ping.

From left to right: NTHU baseball coach Lin Kun-han, Department of Sports Science director Chiu Wen-hsin, NTHU senior vice president Chou Hwai-pwu, Hocheng Hong, Chen Sheng-ping.


Chen Sheng-ping (center) with his parents.

Chen Sheng-ping (center) with his parents.


Chen wearing his Arizona Diamondbacks jersey.

Chen wearing his Arizona Diamondbacks jersey.

Chen is an equally talented batter and fielder.

Chen is an equally talented batter and fielder.

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