ABL Plans to Release 2020/21 Schedule in August
On June 11, Baseball Australia CEO Cam Vale says he is confident the 2020/21 Australian Baseball League season will go ahead as the coronavirus restrictions continue to ease across Australia and New Zealand.
At this stage, the plan is to release the 2020/21 ABL schedule in the second week of August. However, there are still plenty of potential challenges ahead with the government’s quarantine policy.
“As it stands there are several states still enforcing 14-day quarantine periods for interstate travellers which would impact the ABL,” said Cam Vale. “International travellers also face quarantine periods which will impact Geelong-Korea’s arrival and also travel between Australia and Auckland.”
Potential CPBL-ABL Collaborations
We are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to talk with Baseball Australia CEO Cam Vale about the upcoming ABL season.
According to Cam Vale, they are hoping to see more CPBL players in this 2020/21 ABL season. They are very keen to reengage the ABL teams with the CPBL teams to develop a mutually beneficial relationship.
“CPBL commissioner Wu and secretary-general Feng have been great supporters of the ABL in my three years as CEO, regularly attending our playoffs and offering me great advice and direction to improve baseball in Australia,” Vale said.
Since 2011, there have been 22 Taiwanese players played in the ABL. Among them, 14 were sent by their CPBL or MLB teams and eight were free agents at that time. The list included a few well known CPBL players such as Lin Chih-Sheng (Ngayaw Ake), Chiang Chih-Hsien and Chang Tai-Shan.
“We want to try and see 2-3 marquee Taiwanese players in the ABL this season, hopefully with some rising young stars,” Vale said.
“Adelaide Giants and Brisbane Bandits led the way in 2017/18 with players of the high standard and profile of Chang Tai-Shan and Ngayaw Ake.”
“Relationships like that of the Adelaide Giants and the Wei Chuan Dragons that started last year are very important.”
In November 2019, the CPBL expansion team, the Wei Chuan Dragons invited the ABL’s Adelaide Giants to Taiwan for a two-game exhibition series. The Dragons won the first game 13-4 but dropped the second game 6-10.
Taiwan U-23 National Team in the ABL?
During the talk, the topics of having a Taiwanese team in the ABL came up. According to Baseball Australia, they will continue to explore ways of having either a Taiwan team in the ABL or arranging competition of Taiwan teams in Australia.
“I recently had a great idea suggested to me of offering an opportunity for the Taiwan U-23 National Team to tour and compete in Australia, or be part of the ABL in the future,” said Cam Vale.
“It could be a very profitable model for CPBL teams or the CTBA, or a combination of both, to consider this.”
“We would also love to look at regular series between the Australian National Team versus the Taiwanese National Team.”
“I strongly believe baseball needs more regular international competition to grow, and Australia and Taiwan are natural partners.”
Back in 2017, prior to the World Baseball Classic, the Taiwanese National Team went to Australia and played two warm-up games against the ABL’s Brisbane Bandits. Team Taiwan won both games 4-1 and 5-4.
As for Taiwan’s Junior National Team? Generally speaking, they tend to play in a Taiwanese semi-pro winter league from November to January. Perhaps going to Australia to play in the ABL would be a much better option in terms of player development?