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Japanese draft and bribery scandal widens
2007-03-20 18:15
by Bob Timmermann

Last week, news broke of the Seibu Lions team bribing amateur players to get them to sign with the team in what is now a legal way to circumvent the draft in Japanese baseball.

The system is called "kibo-waku" and it allowed a player or a team to negotiate a contract ahead of time with the provision that the team would then forfeit its pick in the first round of the draft. While this may seem like a good way to give players more freedom of choice, it turns out that the system is rife with bribery. Japanese amateur baseball now opposes it and it is expected that NPB will abolish the system.

In this Yomiuri Shimbun piece, the corruption in the system is described.

Last June, Chiba Lotte Marines manager Bobby Valentine spoke of his outrage of being informed by scouts that a particular pitcher would require 8 million dollars to sign. Valentine then met with reporters and lashed out. He started by reminding everyone that the 12 teams pledged to play by the rules, which Valentine praised.

"I am glad that they have cleaned up their act," Valentine said.

But by stating what everyone knew after 2004--that corrupt dealings had occurred in the past--Valentine was forced by his owner to apologize and say, he "was misinformed."

Valentine later asked The Hot Corner: "Does that mean I was misinformed when I said 'they had cleaned up the corruption?'"

Last Sunday, he said he wanted to retract the apology altogether

Universities and high schools are all mixed up in this too. It's like taking the worse of U.S. college sports recruiting and tossing Scott Boras into the mix to create a way of distributing talent.

2007-03-20 21:22:05
1.   mikeplugh
This is a problem, and there are various entities who want the kibo system done away with, but they never get the votes or the momentum to get the job done.

There are a lot of American GMs and managers in the Japanese game now and all of them to a man are pushing for an MLB style draft system. It's only a matter of time.

2007-03-21 09:30:26
2.   Monterey Chris
Another day without being mentioned by the Griddle.


2007-03-21 09:33:08
3.   Bob Timmermann
There's always tomorrow.

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