NEW YORK, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- In a sold-out Major League Baseball (MLB) game here on Saturday, the home field of New York Mets turned into a spectacle of Chinese culture.
Ahead of the game between the Mets and the Atlanta Braves, fans of both teams gathered at the entrances of the Citi Field, ogling an array of photos showing natural and cultural heritage sites in China. Many helped themselves to the brochures and souvenirs.
As the players were warming up, the beauty of China's sceneries and culture lit up every screen. Then these LED screens around the stadium illuminated the faces of the crowd, inviting them to visit China.
The 12th annual event of "An Evening of Chinese Culture" culminated when Chinese Consul General in New York Huang Ping, who appeared on the field in a Mets jersey, threw the "ceremonial first pitch" to kick off the game amid a volley of cheers and applause from the frenzied crowd.
After his first-ever pitch, Huang said that he was very excited about this form of cultural exchange, since "everyone loves traveling, and everyone loves sports."
"We've got more than 5 million people traveling across the Pacific per year now, more than 3 million from China to the United States, and around 2 million from the United States to China last year," he noted. "If we can keep this people-to-people exchange going on, we can together push this (bilateral) relationship forward."
The diplomat also said that the development of baseball has gained momentum in China over recent years, as dozens of Chinese colleges have assembled their own baseball teams with semi-professional players.
"As we have more and more exchanges, I believe baseball, as an important part of American culture, will become more popular in China, bringing pleasure and joy to the Chinese people."
The event was co-hosted by the New York-based Sino-American Friendship Association, China National Tourist Office in New York, and the New York Mets.