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A commentary on baseball in Taiwan
2006-03-09 20:02
by Bob Timmermann

The China Post editorializes on the state of Taiwanese baseball. And the outlook is not rosy.

It is hard to give a complete explanation for the poor showings of the Taiwan team in the World Baseball Classic. However, there is little doubt that baseball in Taiwan has remained where it was or even slipped back while the same sport has progressed in our Asian neighbors.

And that is due mainly to the attitude and mentality of government officials who are responsible for sports development.

One local commentator has called baseball in Taiwan "corrupt." There is a lot of truth in that assessment. The corruption stems largely from the fact that the island, over recent years, has been too parochial and tends to ignore developments in the outside world. As a result, the methods for training baseball players are behind the times.

Another factor contributing to the sluggishness of the local baseball movement is the high incidence of betting on baseball games. This illegal form of gambling, run usually by gambling rings and involving enormous stakes, has a strong negative effect on professional baseball in Taiwan.

Operators of these gambling rings try to make profits by making players and even coaches perform in the way that will create the results the rings want. This practice is a major reason why the number of baseball fans has dwindled in recent years.

2006-03-09 22:02:29
1.   Linkmeister
Who's the Taiwanese equivalent of Arnold Rothstein, I wonder?
2006-03-10 01:37:41
2.   Andrew Shimmin
So, if Bud Selig really wanted to expand the reach of baseball in Taiwan, all he'd have to do is bribe the Sports Development officials? Cool. I write this on my parochial, Taiwanese laptop.
2006-03-10 12:17:14
3.   Gary Garland
Taiwan's main problem is a lack of population. If I'm not mistaken, Taiwan's population is just a shade over 20 million, which is smaller than California (and maybe New York?). Imagine the Dominican Republic against California. That would be a cakewalk for the DR.

Also, a lot of their pitchers who have been in MLB systems have had their development hindered by major surgeries.

I know a scout for one MLB team who resides in Taiwan and he says that the non-MLB pitching over there is pretty picked over anyway. So you put that all together and you get pretty tough sledding for them.

There is also the fact that the Taiwan leagues are historically young (what, about 20 years?) and they still aren't mature from a developmental standpoint. Look at how long it took Japan to get where it is now. I just hope that the WBC showing doesn't discourage
interest in baseball in Taiwan.

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