Professional baseball players will not represent the nation at the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, following negotiations on Monday night.
The Sports Administration said it was “regrettable” that the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) and its players’ union decided not to compete at an important international event, adding that it would find other players to form the national team.
Before the final decision was made on Monday, the Sports Administration held two negotiations with the CPBL and the players’ union. Representatives from the Chinese Taipei Baseball Association (CTBA) also attended the negotiations.
However, the three sessions failed to generate positive results, because the administration and the league have very different perceptions of the importance of the Asian Games. While the Sports Administration considers the Asian Games a first-tier international competition for which the nation needs to form the strongest possible team, the league sees it as a second-tier competition and does not feel the need to support the national team.
Slugger Peng Cheng-min (彭政閔) of Brother Elephants, who is also the president of the players’ union, said the players need more guarantees from the government.
“The players belong to professional baseball teams. When the government drafts players, it should give the league, baseball teams and players the respect they deserve. We want to fight for the country, but the government should provide more guarantees for the players,” Peng said.
Despite the disappointing result of the negotiations, the Sports Administration said that it would form a strong national team by drafting players from several different sources, including those playing in overseas baseball leagues, domestic non-professional teams, the military baseball team and college teams.
Meanwhile, nine professional players who are doing their military service by playing in the league are subject to the draft, should the national team management deem it necessary, the administration said.
All nine players signed affidavits saying that they cannot refuse a government draft, or they will have to join the military for a year.
CTBA director-general Richard Lin (林宗成) said the association would determine whom it would draft for the national team by reviewing players’ performances during the baseball season.
The draft list would be finalized in August, Lin said.
The Sports Administration added that it would use the funding that was used to train second-tier players in the CPBL to hire coaches from the US’ Major League Baseball to train national team players. It would also consider relocating the players and training them in the US.