Ryan Searle Adjusting to More Than Just Baseball

When I moved to the beautiful island of Taiwan ten years ago there were many adjustments that I had to make. The language, transportation, relationships and my occupation, to name a few. At times it was easy and at times it was frustrating, but I didn't have to work in front of 10,000 fans.

Lamigo pitcher Ryan Searle has had to deal with things changing at a rapid pace since his arrival to Taiwan and the CPBL earlier this year. However, the Australian-born right-hander seems to be more comfortable now as his experience grows with each day and inning played. His acceptance and love for the culture, fans and teammates have helped him in his transition from record-setting closer in the ABL to front-end starter in the CPBL.

“I've had to make quite a number of adjustments so far since arriving in Taiwan, but being adaptable is something I try to pride myself on. Just adjusting to Taiwan lifestyle, all the foods they have here, getting situated in my apartment and new city,  learning all my new teammates and coaches.  And that's even before stepping on a mound.”
Even the transition to the Taiwanese game isn't as easy as you might think. To the casual fan, the CPBL might seem similar to other baseball played around the world, but it varies considerably.

With only four teams in the league, the player turnover is tiny and allows for the most successful hitters to accumulate over the years. Very seldom will a player leave the CPBL to join another league. Each teams’ lineup is pretty loaded, to say the least.

Taking the stats for the three, four and five hitters of each team, you find some staggering numbers.

  • The middle of each lineup is averaging a ridiculous 0.360 batting average.
  • The twelve players have hit 63 of the league's 104 home runs (61%).
  • The average age is 30 years old. (Wang Po Jung skews that number as he is just 22). Those are some seriously experienced veterans with pop.

The average over/under (combined score of both teams) in the CPBL is 14.5 while in Japan and the U.S. it is generally 7.5.

Add all these up and it makes sense why it may take new pitchers, local and foreign, a longer time to adapt to their new environments.

However, a pitcher who is able to change under different circumstances and be more malleable is definitely putting himself in a better position to succeed with his team and individually.

“In regards to pitching, I was a closer all offseason and then since joining Lamigo I have been used in both the starter and reliever role. I think the coaches are happy knowing that I can relieve if it's needed, but I am, for all intents and purposes, a starter. So making that transition back wasn't only physical but it was a mindset, too. The other foreign guys are really helpful, too. So whenever you have a question I always go straight to pick their brains. They are all so experienced. Right now I'm just trying to learn the teams and learn the hitters strengths and weaknesses as best I can.”

The pitcher truly seems to be enjoying his time in Taiwan. Before Sunday's walk-off win versus the Lions, I tell the big man to enjoy the game.

"I play baseball for a living, what's not to enjoy?"

Searle looks to keep the Monkeys rolling as he starts Tuesday versus Andy Sisco (0-0, 14.40 ERA) and the first-place Brothers. Both teams are coming into this game after walk-off wins on Sunday. Brothers lead the season series 3-2-2. First pitch is at 6:35 at Chiayi Stadium.


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