Tue, Mar 12, 2002 - Page 16 News List

Tienmu Stadium could have baseball games soon


Taipei City Government is likely to open its Tienmu Baseball Stadium (天母棒球場) for the new baseball season after all.

The city government is set to host a meeting to look into a variety of potential difficulties tomorrow and will come up with its final decision soon, local media have reported.

At the moment, the four Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL, 中華職棒聯盟) teams are not allowed to compete at the nation's showcase stadium in Tienmu because of residents' protests over noise and traffic.

The CPBL season began on March 8.

After a series of public hearings, however, Taipei's Bureau of Education -- supervisor of the stadium -- has softened its stance and is studying the feasibility of opening the 10,000-seat stadium to professional games.

According to local media, deputy secretary general of the city government Liu Pao-kuei (劉寶貴) will have a meeting tomorrow with representatives from the education bureau, the Bureau of Transportation, the Bureau of Environmental Protection, local police stations and administrative district offices in order to gather opinions from all sides.

Meanwhile, the city government will form a supervisory mechanism to deal with the problems that may occur once the stadium is opened.

The NT$1 billion stadium was built in 2000, but has hardly been used because nearby residents were against professional teams playing there.

When Taipei City won the bid to host the 34th Baseball World Cup, the stadium was chosen as the main venue for the major events because the facilities are among the best in Taiwan.

In past years, the two professional baseball leagues in Taiwan have tried to persuade the city government to allow professional games to be played in Tienmu, but have not been able to overcome strong resistance from local residents.

With the success of the World Cup series last year, baseball fans have teamed up with the professional baseball leagues and urged the city government to come to an understanding with the residents in Tienmu.

During the past two months, the city government has sponsored a series of public hearings on the matter.

An increasing numbers of baseball fans have joined the "Open Tienmu Stadium" campaign and the pressure has begun to tell as residents' resistance to the idea has eroded.

The first match of the new baseball season -- which follows on the heels of President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) declared "year of the baseball" -- was scheduled to be played at Tienmu last Friday.

It was instead played in Hsichuang City, where the Brother Elephants beat the Uni-President Lions; and in Chiayi, where the Sinon Bulls beat the ChinaTrust Whales 5-3.

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