CPBL officials announced the resumption of the Asia Series yesterday afternoon in a statement that should bring joy to baseball fans across Asia.
With Japan’s professional baseball league, Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), confirming its participation earlier this week in the upcoming 2011 Asia Series in Taiwan, the stage is finally set for the best of Asia to showcase their talent in a high-caliber international tournament.
The annual four-day competition of Asia’s top professional baseball teams, which was known as the Konami Cup and ran for four seasons from 2005 to 2008 prior to a two-year stoppage, will resume in Taiwan in November with Australia sending the defending champs of the Australian Baseball League (ABL), the Perth Heat, to replace the champs from China’s Chinese Baseball League (CBL) in a four-team face off.
With Japan recovering from the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami, the NPB was forced to postpone its season this year by nearly a month, which also meant delaying its Championship Series (Nippon Series) to mid-November, so the country had been unable to commit to participating in the Asia Series tentatively set for Nov. 11 to Nov. 14.
However, with all involved parties acknowledging the unusual situation in Japan and the country’s desire to take part in the event, the Asia Series is now set for Nov. 25 to Nov. 29, with the champs from South Korea’s Korean Baseball Organization joining the top finishers from Australia, Japan and Taiwan to fight for the bragging right of Asia’s best.
“We are all very excited to hear that it [the Asia Series] will resume after the two-year stoppage and are confident that we’ll be there to make Taiwan proud,” Chen Rei-chen, skipper of the Brother Elephants, the CPBL defending champs, told the Taipei Times.
Japan dominated the first four Asia Series tournaments, winning all four titles on their own turf, while Taiwan and South Korea each snatched up a pair of -second-place finishes.
Similar to previous years, this year’s competition will use a round-robin format in the first round, before the top two finishers battle for the title and NT$18 million (US$624,000) in prize money. The second-place finisher will take home NT$10 million, while the third and fourth-place finishers will each pick up NT$3 million for their participation.