The controversial disqualification of a junior baseball team from a tournament has prompted protests in Greater Tainan and New Taipei City (新北市) and is now pitting two Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers against one another.
The New Taipei City team was disqualified from the Hsieh Guo-cheng Cup junior baseball tournament for boys aged 11 and 12 on May 1 because two of their players forgot to bring their ID card as required, but were nevertheless allowed to stay in the tourney, and went on to defeat Greater Tainan two games in a row on Thursday and Friday to win the competition.
Team Greater Tainan say the team from New Taipei City should have been immediately disqualified and they filed a protest before meeting New Taipei City in the title series.
The technical committee of the Chinese Taipei Baseball Association (CTBA) did not discuss the case until Friday and announced after the meeting that New Taipei City were disqualified, adding that the teams from Greater Tainan, Greater Kaohsiung, Pingtung County and Taipei would have to play an additional round to determine the winners.
DPP Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃), who represents a constituency in Greater Tainan, called a press conference yesterday and said that despite the disqualification, Greater Tainan should replace New Taipei City as the champions, according to past practice and because they had defeated New Taipei City twice.
However, DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬), who was elected in New Taipei City, said at a separate press conference that his hometown team should retain the title because they were allowed to stay in the tourney.
Players on the New Taipei City team were heartbroken after learning of their disqualification and losing a once-in-a-life-time opportunity to represent the country at a global tournament, Gao said.
Each year, the champions of the Hsieh Guo-cheng Cup go on to represent Taiwan at the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
The Sports Affairs Council has demanded that the CTBA review the case, said Hu Chih-pang (胡啟邦), director of the council’s Department of Competitive Athletics.
The technical committee has made what it assessed to be the most appropriate and fair decision for all participating teams by holding additional games to determine the winners, committee deputy convener Yeh Chih-hsien (葉志仙) said.
However, in a statement published on Friday, the CTBA acknowledged the tournament officials’ mistake of allowing New Taipei City to remain in the competition, saying that those responsible would be reprimanded.