The government should help nurture the nation's baseball players and make baseball a national sport, Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) lawmakers said yesterday.
"The TSU wants baseball to be a national sport after the excellent performance of our national players in international games. We suggest that Taiwan should have domes nationwide in order to promote the sport," said TSU legislative leader Liao Pen-yen (廖本煙).
The legislators made the comments after meeting National Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Chairman Lin De-fu (林德福).
The TSU members said they were disappointed with the council after listening to Lin's briefing. They said the center should focus its limited budget on selected sports.
"Only NT$1.8 billion will be used to promote sports, according to the council's annual budget. It explains why Taiwan's sports players cannot shine in the international arena," TSU Legislator Ho Min-hao (
The annual budget of the council is NT$3 billion, NT$1.2 billion of which is spent on salaries.
"The TSU hopes that the Executive Yuan will significantly increase the sports budget next year to push ahead with programs to nurture baseball players," Ho said.
Baseball became a hot topic af-ter the nation's team qualified for next year's Olympic Games in Athens by beating Japan and South Korea in a tournament held in Japan last week. This week, Japanese champions the Daiei Hawks are holding a series of exhibition games in Taiwan.
TSU whip Lo Chih-ming (
The TSU will also ask the government to allocate another NT$15 billion to build three baseball parks.
The domes, which the TSU suggests should be built following the example of Tokyo Dome and other international stadiums, would help players who are used to the red soil of this country's baseball fields to become familiar with the artificial ground found in most international competition sites, the party said.
TSU Legislator Chien Lin Whei-jun (錢林慧君) said incentives were necessary to encourage the players.
Taiwan has too few players and teams compared with Japan and South Korea, Chien Lin said, meaning players don't get enough rest between games.