The Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) will establish a farm team system in March as the government appropriates NT$10 million (US$300,000) to develop a minor league program, Minister of the Sports Affairs Council Tai Hsia-ling (戴遐齡) said yesterday.
Leaders of the four CPBL teams — the Sinon Bulls, La New Bears, Uni-President Lions and Brother Elephants — jointly attended a press conference called by Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) as the latter announced the government’s plan to boost the professional baseball league.
The CPBL, which was founded in 1989, has experienced a slump in recent years as a result of rampant gambling and game fixing.
“Normally a population of 10 million can sustain a good baseball team. Taiwan, a nation of 23 million people, has four teams. You can imagine how difficult it is for the four enterprises to run a baseball team … This year will mark the 20th year of the CPBL. The government will work closely with the four teams to invigorate the baseball league,” Liu said.
Meanwhile, each of the four teams has agreed to adopt baseball fields in a county or city, home to its parent company, to encourage the feeling of belonging and inclusion among the local population. The Sinon Bulls will adopt the Taichung Baseball Field, the La New Bears the ChengChing Lake Baseball Field in Kaohsiung, the Brother Elephants the baseball fields in Tianmu or in Sinjhuang, Taipei County, and the Lions will adopt a field in Tainan City.
CPBL president Chao Shou-po (趙守博) called for higher government spending to develop baseball teams in elementary and junior high schools.
Hong Ruei-he (洪瑞河), captain of the Brother Elephants, said that eradicating gambling problems was the most crucial factor in winning back baseball fans.