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  • Writer's pictureChelsea Roemer

Out of Left Field: Mickey Jiang's Path in Pro Baseball

Boats rest calmly on ripples of water that appear emerald green, courtesy of the reflection from the trees that stand tall on the mountains surrounding the harbor. Offshore is a small village built on the art of fishing in Ilan, Taiwan. Standing tall in a uniform that consists of various shades of green and khaki is a Taiwan Military Police Sergeant, Mickey Jiang, who was assigned to help serve the village.

All adult males in Taiwan are required to join the service for two years. After six months of bootcamp, Jiang would spend about 18 months in the village working with the residents.

Since he grew up putting on a baseball uniform and using sports equipment, this type of position was new.

“It was really cool to go to a new location and interact with the people and see how they lived,” Jiang said. “The experience provided me with an entirely different perspective.”

After his assignment in the service, Jiang later reconnected with the sport of baseball professionally, in the United States.

This time the uniform consists of a fitted white jersey with the words Sea Dogs displayed across the chest in red stitching; and his title now reads: Minor League Baseball Coach and Interpreter for the Boston Red Sox organization.

Born and raised in Taiwan, Jiang began playing baseball with his dad around the age of four, and continued to be involved in the sport throughout college. He attended Tunghai University, where he studied international trade, played fast pitch softball, and competed in baseball tournaments.

“Growing up there was no professional baseball league in Taiwan, so the sport industry wasn’t very competitive to be considered as a career,” Jiang said. “In college I just expressed interest in playing and ended up being able to do it all four years.”

Besides baseball, Jiang also fell in love with practicing the English language.

“I loved learning the language and my parents sent me to take more lessons after school when I was young,” Jiang said. “I took Japanese in college, but English was always the main language I focused on studying.”

After earning his bachelor's degree in 2000, Mickey worked for the research institute at the National Taiwan University, helping host international academic conferences for about a year and-a-half. Next, he made his way to the United States to pursue his MBA at Northwestern Polytechnic University; now known as San Francisco Bay University.

“I knew I wanted to study in the U.S. education system and thought about going for a sport management degree,” Jiang said. “The MBA was actually not my first choice but I ended up getting a good offer from the school I attended.”

Mickey graduated with his MBA in the fall of 2006, and immediately began looking for a job. As an international student, he was going to need to find a sponsor for a work visa to remain a resident in the states.

During his search, a friend sent him a job posting from the Red Sox Organization, regarding a bilingual interpreter who knew Mandarin Chinese.

“I quickly applied for the job after it was sent to me, then right away I went through a number of interviews,” Jiang said. “I officially got offered the job a week later and just decided to go for it.”

Ten days after being hired, Jiang reported to spring training in Fort Myers, Florida, to gear up for the 2007 season. There he was able to familiarize himself with the organization's staff, athletes and operations.

“I had so many mixed feelings because I had never been to Florida before,” Jiang said. “I really had to settle in and get into a routine, and everyone around me at the facility was really nice and willing to help.”

He remained in the Sunshine State for a little over a month, where he would have his first group of athletes consisting of Chiu-Hsiang Chiang, Chih-Hsian Huang, and Wang-Yi Lin.

In May, Mickey moved up to Boston’s then Low-A Affiliate, the Greenville Drive in South Carolina, with Chiang.

However, meeting the three international players in Florida was only just the beginning.

During the 2007 season two more athletes from Taiwan joined the Red Sox - starting with outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin and catcher Chia-Chu Chen.

Through the past few seasons, Mickey made his way up and down the east coast, stopping at each affiliate to work with more athletes.

Added to his list is infielder Tzu-Wei Lin, who joined the organization in 2012, and catcher Qiangba Renzeng from China who signed in the fall of 2017.

In addition to interpreting, Mickey has also lengthened his coaching resume. His duties across the affiliates have included; catching instructor, bench coach, base coach, and player development, playing a key role in gathering information for coaches and athletes. 

Currently, Mickey is working with right hand pitcher Chih-Jung “CJ” Liu, who signed in the fall of 2019, and spent the 2023 season in Portland, Maine.

Working alongside Mickey this past season was Sean Isaac, who served as Portland’s pitching coach.

“I met Mickey at spring training and everyone just lit up whenever he walked in the room,” Isaac said. “My first interaction with him was studying how he worked with the players and noting his attention to detail.”

Liu started in 24 contests for the Sea Dogs, earning 145 strikeouts through 114.1 innings pitched. He even went as far as etching his name in the record books, after throwing the sixth no-hitter in program history.

“I think it's important as a coach to make players feel comfortable and create an environment they look forward to coming to and working in,” Isaac said. “You could tell Mickey made C.J. feel right at home in such an unfamiliar place.”

Even when he is not on the baseball field, Mickey is constantly trying to learn new material to help him become a better coach.

To expand his knowledge of the game a step further, Jiang went back to school to earn a master’s degree in sports performance psychology. He completed his degree in January of 2023 online at National University in San Diego.

“I wanted to gain insight on how to work with the different mental skills since that is such a big part of the sport,” Jiang said. “This degree taught me how to be a good communicator and how to listen to the athletes.”

This opportunity with the Red Sox organization has given Mickey the ability to merge two subjects he is passionate about for 16 years and counting.

Ironically in 2007 when he began his career, Jiang was unsure how long the job would last.

“Back then I didn’t know if this was going to be more than one season,” Jiang said. “I value every moment with the players and the chance to learn from those beside me and become a better version of myself.”

Mickey and his wife Wendy reside on the west coast during the offseason, and he tries to make trips back home whenever there is an opportunity.

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