After years of being a four-team league, it seems the CPBL is another step closer to the league expansion with the possibility of adding a team from Australia in 2019.
The CPBL Commissioner 吳志揚 (Wu Chih-Yang) and Secretary-General 馮勝賢 (Feng Sheng-Xian) were invited to Australia to watch the ABL Championship Series. During their visit to Australia, the CEO of the Australian Baseball League Cam Vale has told commissioner Wu that the ABL is planning to submit a formal proposal to join the CPBL farm league in 2019, and aiming to have a first team playing in the regular CPBL season by 2020.
(Note – In CPBL, each team will have a first team and a farm team, just think of it as the major league team and the minor league team)
Possible Timeline for the ABL to Join CPBL
- The ABL to submit formal proposal in May 2018.
- Proposal to be reviewed by the team owners at the general assembly.
- Once approved, the ABL to join CPBL farm league for the entire 2019 season.
- CPBL will review/ evaluation the ABL at the end of 2019 farm league season.
- Once approved, promote the ABL team to participate CPBL regular season in 2020.
The Concerns We Have
- Source of players for this ABL team, which directly affect to the quality of the game. Especially during that time, all the Australian top baseball prospects are in the USA playing in the minor league system.
- Funding to run the Australian team in the CPBL, will Baseball Australia to be able to fund it? Despite their plan is to join the farm league, it is not going to be cheap to have a team permanently based in Taiwan.
- Game-fixing prevention. Since most players are foreign citizen there are less accountability when it comes to this. The CPBL have been incident free since 2009, it will be interesting to see what the CPBL and ABL have in mind to prevent that from happening.
Interview with Baseball Australia CEO Cam Vale
CPBL STATS have been fortunate enough to get the opportunity to talk with the ABL/ Baseball Australia CEO Cam Vale regarding to this potential joint-venture between the CPBL and Baseball Australia.
Mr Vale was able to shed some light on a few topics about the funding and the players source for this Australian team.
About the Funding to Participate in the CPBL
Cam Vale: Baseball Australia is exploring a range of options on funding the team, bringing in partners that see the value commercially in an Australian branded team playing in a major Baseball country like Taiwan.
We have some way to go, but the interest is high and we will continue to push this on the back of the great success with the viewership of the ABL this year out of Taiwan.
An important supporting part of this business model is to find good partners in Taiwan as well – from a host city/location and partners in Taiwan keen to engage in this unique idea and back into Australia.
Make up of the Australian Team for the CPBL
Cam Vale: If we start with a minor league team, it will be a predominantly Australian team, although we are keen to ensure we have some Taiwan players to ensure the team is connected to the city we play in.
We are very confident in our ability to attract good Australian players back from the USA and Asia, as well as those players that have limited opportunities outside the ABL. All Australian players I have spoken to are excited by this concept and keen to be part of it, and this will also give players the chance to be professional which is a difficulty for us to provide here in Australia.
We are keeping our options open in our discussions with the CPBL to be considering both Minor League and Major League, and depending on which one we start with, will impact on the make up of the team.
This has the opportunity to be a significant part of Australian sport and we look forward to the ongoing discussions with the CPBL and in the future the CPBL teams and fans, to ensure we consider the needs and requirements of all the key stakeholders in Taiwan.
CPBL STATS would like to thank Mr Vale for taking the time out of his busy schedule to speak with us about this. For latest Australia baseball news, visit Baseball Australia and The Australian Baseball League.
Adding teams from Australia would add significant travel costs, unless you have four Australian teams and two divisions. Also, the CPBL plays in northern hemisphere summer, which Australian teams would not be in July.
Sidney and Brisbane probably have adequate winter weather to host CPBL teams, but Melbourne is cold and wet in the winter, and Adalaide and Perth would add to the travel costs.
If two Australian teams could sign an unlimited number of players from Australia and Taiwan, plus three foreign players, and both teams had the financial resources to compete on equal footing with CPBL teams, the talent should be there to compete at the CPBL level. At least, I think you could find two CPBL quality teams out of the six team rosters that play the winter Australian Baseball League.
I think Baseball Australia’s idea is to have an Australian team based in Taiwan to avoid international travel.
I think the main problem is how this Australian team going to find their players, as they don’t have enough funding.
Assuming all players on this Australian team are on minimum salary. It will cost roughly $600K USD a year to pay 26 players’ salary. That’s only salary, not to include other expenses.
Talent wise is another question. With most Australian baseball prospects are in USA minor league at that time, players quality and quality of game is another issue here.
While I think it’s good to have more team to participate in the CPBL farm league, I think we’re long way to go. But I guess we’ll find out after Baseball Australia submit their official proposal.
As for CPBL players in the ABL. Maybe we’ll see more mid level guys going over there.
Young / prospects – Stay in Taiwan for Asia Winter Baseball League.
Mid/ fringe 1st team players – Go to the ABL for more game time.
Senior/ veterans – Most of them have their own offseason training schedule in USA and Japan. To avoid injury, I don’t think team will want them to play during the offseason.
I don’t think we will see the players in the same calibre as Lin and Chiang going to the ABL next season.
A team that might be suitable for the ABL is actually the Taiwanese junior national team. Since they no longer compete in the Asia Winter Baseball League, the ABL would be a good alternative for them.
Do I have this correct? The ABL would continue to operate from Nov. to Feb. But, in between, the ABL would operate 1 (or 2) team(s) in the CPBL during the CPBL season from March to Oct.? And, the CPBL team being operated by the ABL would play all its games somewhere in Taiwan? Or, would they play in Australia? – Todd (Albany County, New York, USA).
Yes, the ABL will still continue to operate from NOV to FEB. What Baseball Australia have in mind is to have a team to play during the CPBL season from March to October.
If the CPBL approved the ABL proposal. Then the Australian team will be based in Taiwan from March to October.
This is an absolutely fantastic initiative. It is great that the Aussies had the courage to take the first step to make it happen. All of the whining about “funding” and “player availability” is really silly. There is a LARGE number of very skilled players in the world who can compete very effectively in the CPBL, and bring an entirely different level of competition, excitement and interest to the CPBL. The most important, and most powerful aspect of this deal is the breaking of the ridiculous, outdated paradigm that the CPBL, KBO and NPB have been stuck in for decades. That being the notion that the number of “foreign” players must be limited to 2-3 per team (even “foreign” Asians are restricted). The MLB thrives because it allows the best players to come and compete, regardless of which passport the players hold. Asian players have very clearly shown their ability to compete, win, and dominate in baseball from Little League to the International Pro level. So, there is absolutely no reason to “fear” having more foreign players playing against domestic players. The NPB, KBO and CPBL should have done this many years ago. They haven’t had the courage, nor will to even do it among their own leagues. The first ethnic Taiwanese player EVER just signed with the NC Dinos of the KBO. It is insane that it has taken so long for ONE Taiwanese pro to get signed by a KBO team. After the ABL joins the CPBL, the new joint league will give far more Taiwanese and non-Taiwanese players a chance to compete against tougher competition, develop their skills to a higher level, and showcase their skills to a larger international audience of fans and scouts. Hopefully, the CPBL the ABL and their respective fan bases will realize the great potential of this new initiative, embrace it, support it, and build it into an amazing new Asian pro league!! This new ABL-CPBL team should base itself in Jiayi or Hualian, and get the party started !!
I am not really against the idea of it. But I have a lot of concerns.
The problem with the ABL funding is actually quite a valid concern. Despite CPBL is not as big as the NPB and KBO, it still cost roughly 6 to 8 millions USD a year to run a single team.
That is something Baseball Australia doesn’t have at the moment. Without sufficient funding, how are they going to operate on day-to-day basis or even sign players? Without decent players, how is this ABL team going to be competitive and help the CPBL to improve?
If Baseball Australia is able to get a team that’s on the same skill level as their WBC National team, then definitely more than welcome. But during the CPBL season (March to October), most of the Australia top baseball prospects are in the MLB minor league system, the only way to get them to come to Taiwan to play is to buyout their contracts. But we will run into that funding issue once again. And this is not even considering will those players even want to come back? Say if they have a chance to crack into MLB 40-man roster, why would they want to abandon their MLB dream to come play in the CPBL?
Another example of that would be during the 2012/ 2013 Asia Winter League, there is a team from the Dominican Republic, but due to lack of funding, the Dominican players that came to Taiwan wasn’t on the same calibre as rest of the league, the quality of games dropped significantly.
As for the foreign players limit, let’s just agree and disagree on that. I don’t think having limit on foreign players is that ridiculous to be honest. Apart from the MLB, which is matured enough of a market to pull that off, I don’t think none of the Asian leagues are ready for open market.
The set up and the operation philosophy of the the Asian leagues are fundamentally different from the MLB, in Asia it’s more towards developing domestic players and providing job opportunities to domestic baseball players.
Actually, let’s use your ABL as an example, even they have a foreign players limit as well. And I don’t think when they come join CPBL, they will open their team up to non-Australian players. It will be a predominantly Australian team. Do you know why? Because their end goal is to develop their own domestic players too.
This I believe is only a smoke screen to hide the problem facing Australian Baseball, namely to run a financially viable National League.
Despite SA proving that it was possible in the late 80,s by tailoring fixtures, within the rules, with support entertainment. Other teams headed by MBL purists, retained the traditional American style which was not acceptable to the Australian public.
Operating costs were unsustainable and the League folded. Subsequently MLB picked up the tab, retained the same format and predictablywithdrew their support when costs became prohibitive. Due to the failure of private interests owning teams, MLB running for cover the ABF had no option but to prevail on States to come to the fore but retained the same format and in an attempt to reduce cost reduced the season to five home and five away fixtures. This also appears to have failed dismally.
The ABF replaced CEO Brett Pickett with Geof Hooker who after one season was replaced by current CEO Cam Vale none of them have had the fortitude to face the internal problems but each have taken the easy way out looking for miracles.
The bottom line is Baseball in the America is a traditional sport where fans have become conditioned from birth, and to their majority that’s Baseball. Here in Australia surveys indicate that less than 5% of our potential market understands, or is remotely interested in our game. As results to date confirm, if we continue to be influenced by “that’s the way it’s done in America” and expect to get and retain sufficient spectator support it just ain’t going to happen.
Unless the powers to be swallow their Ego’s and stop creating fairy tales Australian Baseball is not and doesn’t deserve to become a progressive sport.
Thank you for sharing some of the insight on this situation. This is very helpful for us non-Australian to understand what’s really going on over there.
Perhaps rather going for the full CPBL season, maybe some sort of “friendship tour” would be a better option for Baseball Australia? I guess financially make more sense too.
I do hope Baseball Australia can find their way to get out of the current situation too.
From memory I believe the first stage to this current proposal was originally programmed for December but has now been extended to May.
That is correct. I have also heard some rumour about that from my Taiwanese sources.
Rob: Appreciate your interest, and you are quite right in saying funding is a problem. But I think at this stage it’s putting the cart before the horse.
I’ve been associated with the then ABC, since becoming the SA delegate way back in the early 50,s, when it’s only real role was to oversee our National Competition the Claxton Shield. From there over the years as a Director, President and subsequently as Vice President for several years and been a part of the tremendous growth initiated by Bob Black and carried forward by competent people who were giving of their time and expertise for all the right reasons.
Our initial aim was to enter into the international arena and after several games against Japanese visiting teams we applied to and became a member of the Asian Baseball Federation.
We then set about increasing our base, by employing a junior co-ordinator Chet Gray, who set About increasing numbers,development programmes well in excess of what we had expected, and was instrumental in setting up the National underage competitions.
With this in hand, attempts were made to increase the quality of our senior players, by playing international home and away games, which to some degree was successful as we progressed from easy meat to become very competitive as indicated by our results in Asian series held in Korea.
With our National competition exposure restricted to a yearly10 days series, our opportunities were restricted to hosting and and overseas visits.
This backfired when the costs resulted in States not being able to finance participation, and the Claxton Shield was abandoned.
This forced us to look at alternatives and saw the berth of privately owned teams but ultimately costs saw the demise of this and the dismal history of Australian Baseball and the reasons why have been detailed previously.
In retiring from any further involvement I prepared a paper “ The rise or fall of the National League in the 20th century” which if your interested send me an Email and I’ll forward a copy
I sent you an email. Would love to read your paper about this issue!