The Sports Administration said it has decided to give each player of the nation’s baseball team a reward of NT$200,000 (US$6,732) for their extraordinary performances at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) this year, adding that it would also seek an amendment to the National Honor Prize (國光獎金) program.
Based on the rules of the program, only baseball players competing in the Olympic Games, Asian Games, Baseball World Cup or other first-tier baseball tournaments would be granted national honor prizes if they perform well.
Although the team set a new record in reaching the second round of the competition this year, none of the team’s players would be rewarded financially by the government if the agency stuck to the program’s rules.
However, the agency said the team should be rewarded because its performances had reinvigorated a passion for baseball among Taiwanese and lifted the national mood.
The agency elected to use profits generated by the Sports Lottery to reward the seven coaches and 28 players on the team, with each receiving NT$200,000.
Asked whether similar rewards would be given for outstanding performances by athletes from other sports under similar circumstances, Wang said the agency would consider it when amending the rules of the National Honor Prize program.
“This reward is being handled as a special case,” Wang said.
“Similar rewards could be part of the program’s rules in the future. We will consider all issues when we amend the rules,” he added.
Apart from the money from the Sports Administration, the nation’s baseball team received US$1 million from Major League Baseball (MLB), the organizer of the World Baseball Classic, for participating in the competition, reaching the second round and for topping the first-round pool.
The money from MLB would be divided in half, with US$500,000 given to players and US$500,000 given to the Chinese Taipei Baseball Association to promote the sport in Taiwan.
The Chinese Professional Baseball League, meanwhile, gave each player NT$30,000 per WBC game.