CHICAGO, June 22 (Xinhua) -- "The Chinese players are amazing. They've done unbelievable job," said Kevin Joseph, assistant coach of the Texas Airhogs on Friday, after his team finished two games against the Chicago Dogs Baseball Club this week.
In May, the Texas AirHogs announced a unique partnership with the Chinese Baseball Association (CBA) and Shougang Sports prior to the 2018 season.
With the goal of developing players in a new and competitive environment, around 30 members of the Chinese national baseball team (known as Shougang Eagles) will train at Airhogs Stadium and are playing on the AirHogs roster in 2018, with a new team name: Texas Airhogs - powered by Beijing Shougang Eagles.
The team also features ten free agent spots filled by players from the United States, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.
The CBA sees this partnership as an innovative way to expedite the development of its baseball players as they prepare for the 2020 Olympics and beyond. This will be the first time in history that a national team has played a season as part of a professional baseball league in the United States.
From June 19 to 21, the Texas AirHogs has two games versus the Chicago Dogs as each side took one win and the third game was cancelled because of heavy rain.
When asked about his feelings as a foreign player in an American professional league, Li Ning, catcher of the team told Xinhua that he would learn new knowledge and theory about American baseball skills, by participating in more games, he would grow faster.
"It will prepares me better for the upcoming Asian Games in August in Jakarta, Indonesia," Li said.
Joseph highly praised Chinese players by saying that: "They get better every week, played very well even at the higher level, which is better than expected. They continue to improve, so we are pleased to see they take steps to be competent in higher level game."
"I believe the Chinese national baseball team will have a bright future, so I can see they definitely could do well in the Asian Games," Joseph added.
Na Chuang, assistant coach of Chinese side in Texas AirHogs also shares similar views. "Chinese baseball players adapts to U.S. training and game competing very quickly. Although there are still challenges ahead, we progressed faster than expected, which makes us more confident in preparing for the Asian Games even Olympics," said Na.