Sun, Jan 11, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Government makes bid to boost baseball

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Cabinet will propose a plan on Tuesday to boost the country’s professional baseball league, which has experienced a slump in recent years as a result of rampant gambling and game fixing.

Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) will unveil the plan alongside the heads of the four Chinese Professional Baseball League teams — the Sinon Bulls, LaNew Bears, Uni-President Lions and Brother Elephants — sources said yesterday.

Under the plan, the government would appropriate NT$15 million (US$452,000) this year for the four teams to establish a minor league, with each player allotted NT$200,000.

It is hoped that the injection of money will encourage more people to work toward elevating the game of baseball, Sports Affairs Council Deputy Minister Chen Hsien-chung (陳顯宗) said yesterday.

To prevent game fixing, the Cabinet accepted a suggestion by the Ministry of Education that players be barred from working in schools.

Sources said the four teams have also agreed to adopt baseball fields — the Sinon Bulls at Taichung Baseball Field, the LaNew Bears at ChengChing Lake Baseball Field in Kaohsiung, the Brother Elephants at the baseball fields in Tianmu or in Sinjhuang, Taipei County, and the Lions at a field in Tainan City.

The fields are currently managed by local governments.

The government will also hand out 1,000 tickets to women on March 8 and children on April 4 to encourage more people to watch baseball, sources said.

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