The Baseball Australia have officially submitted the proposal to join Taiwan’s CPBL today. The goal is to have an Australian team to compete in the CPBL’s minor league by the 2019 season and reach the CPBL major league by 2021.

CPBL, Baseball Australia press conference. Photo Credit: (UDN)

Cam Vale, the CEO of Baseball Australia and the Australian Baseball League along with the CPBL commissioner 吳志揚 (Wu Chih-Yang) held a press conference in Taipei City to discuss the potential expansion plan and answered the questions from the media.

“We have been in discussion with the CPBL in the past 12 months as part of our planning process,” said Cam Vale. “We still have a long way to go, but it is very exciting we submitted our proposal today”.

According to the CPBL commissioner, now the league have received the proposal from Baseball Australia, the next step is to present this to the CPBL team owners in the next general assembly.

“We hope to see an Australian team to enter the CPBL minor league by 2019, which is also the 30th CPBL season,” said Wu Chih-Yang.

Baseball Australia submitted the proposal to join the CPBL. Photo Credit: (pb+ Media)

Press Conference Quick Recap

Due to proposal contents being confidential, a lot of details such as the budgets were not properly discussed. But here is our recap of the press conference.

  • The Australian/ ABL team is likely to spend the first two season in the CPBL minor league, with the goal of eventually graduating to the CPBL major league.
  • Players source will be the ABL players and the Australian players from the United States baseball system.
  • Over the next coming months, Baseball Australia will start investigating the suitable city as the base of the operation in Taiwan.
  • Although Baseball Australia’s proposal is a bit different from the CPBL current expansion term, Baseball Australia will work hard and do their best to support the existing expansion term. (See CPBL expansion term here)
  • According to the CPBL commissioner, the proposal today is purely on joining the CPBL farm league at this stage.
  • Currently, there is no timeline as for when the Australian team will be promoted to the CPBL major league. The CPBL has no plan to keep the Australian team in the minor league forever.
  • The proposal will be under review by the CPBL team owners at the next general assembly.
Baseball Australia CEO Cam Vale met with CPBL commissioner Wu Chih-Yang. Photo Credit: (pb+ Media)

Reactions from Other CPBL Teams

The general reactions from most teams are mostly positive about the potential expansions, but they all mentioned they would have to review the proposal before making the final decision.

Chinatrust Brothers General Manager:

“We are not against the idea, but we will have to review the proposal first before making the decision collectively as a group among other team owners.”

Chinatrust Brothers Manager:

“Look forward seeing a new team in the CPBL minor league. Hopefully, the number of minor league games will increase too.”

Uni-Lions General Manager:

“How to operate the team in long-term is what we care about, if the Australian is willing to spend two seasons in the minor league, then we do want to see them in the CPBL major league eventually.”

Uni-Lions Manager:

“Four teams is not enough. A six-team league is more suitable for Taiwan. Anything is possible, but the league will need to set up the expansions rules properly first.”

Fubon Guardians General Manager:

“We are unable to comment on this without seeing the proposal, but we want to see is a team that can operate in Taiwan for long-term. It will create a healthy competition environment and further growing our sports industry.”

Further Reading


  1. If a single Australian team is able to field an unlimited number of Australian players who have played in the MLB system, it should be able to compete in the CPBL’s major league.

    It seams to me that the CPBL would need two Australian teams playing in the major league to make road trips to Australia feasible. If the sole Australian team plays all of its games in Taiwan, it won’t be able to build up any real fan base. With two Australian teams in a six team CPBL, each Taiwanese team could make two 12-game road trips playing each of the two Australian teams six times each trip during the season. That could work if attendance in Australia was adequate and winter weather in Australia can allow for baseball to be played.

    I still think that Taiwan could support two more Taiwanese team if two teams play in greater Taipei.

    • Yeah, I think if the Aussies can put together a decent squad, it is going to benefit the CPBL farm league prospects. If it is their WBC squad, then they can definitely able to compete in the CPBL top league.

      The problem with Taiwan is that game-fixing issues, it really hurt the public image of the league, even after all these years. Large corporations still rather invest the money else where other than running a professional baseball.

      If they want expansion, the quickest way to do it is to offer some sort of tax incentives to their parent company. But that’s really not fair to other sports and entertainment industry though.

      It is interesting to see Baseball Australia is doing this in preparation for the 2020 Olympics and the Primer 12 tournament. China is sort of doing the same thing too, the just send their entire national team to the American Association to compete under the Texas AirHogs.

  2. I hadn’t realized that the Chinese National team was playing as two-thirds of the Texas AirHogs’ expanded roster. I had noticed a player who batted over .400 in the Pacific Association (one of the lowest of the Indy-A leagues, which feeds its best players to the American Association and Frontier League) had been purchased by the AirHogs, but I had not known that Chinese players were making up the majority of the team. It makes a lot of sense for the Chinese National team, who get their players in more professional games at a decent level of competition — a lot of the best American Association players now play in the four best winter leagues each winter — and I’m sure it’s a good deal for the American Association because China probably pays for most of the team’s expenses.

    • Yeah, they played some ridiculous amount of games leading up to this years’ Asian Games. Something like 100 games in 120 days.

      The Chinese national team code-named this American Association overseas training thing as “Dances with the Wolves”. It’s probably the smartest thing they can do if they want to develop a squad for major tournament.

      Apparently it is a 3 years on-going project for the Chinese with the goal being the 2020 Olympics. From my understanding they plan play around 300 games in the United States. (Probably need to fact check this, since I’m not the expert in China baseball).

      I think there was some connections between the AirHogs and the Chinese national team too, some of the AirHogs front office staff used to worked for the Chinese national team. Assuming the AirHogs needs funding, and Chinese needs a place to play, a perfect match!

    • Adding on to this “Long term overseas training” operation.

      Prior to the establishment of the CPBL was established in 1990. Taiwan did something similar from 1984 to 1992. Basically developing a squad that is for international tournaments, including the Olympics.

      So what they ended up doing is pretty much spent the whole years training in the United States, played against the USA local teams.

      This Taiwan development squad ended up winning Bronze for 1984 Olympics and Silver for 1992 Olympics. Shortly after 1992 Olympics the squad disbanded and pretty much turned into the Jungo Bears and joined the CPBL.

      Some fun facts too, Don August and Cory Snyder both were on the 1984 Team USA. And Don August ended up pitching in the CPBL and Snyder becomes a manager in Taiwan.

      I actually have plan to blog more about this “1984-1992 Development Squad”, just need to search some old newspaper and find some contents.

  3. I kind of have mixed feelings about mainland China trying to develop a great baseball team. It seems like a Communist government trying to put together a top sports team as a form of propaganda to show how great their system works. How many mainland Chinese care at all about playing or watching baseball?

    On the other hand, if China does develop a team that plays well in international competition, then mainlanders might start to develop an interest in baseball. Given the size of the country, maybe one day China could be producing as many Chinese MLB major leaguers as Japan, South Korea, Australia and Taiwan do now combined. If nothing else that would support future MLB expansion.

    • You’re correct on that propaganda part. Since 2008 Beijing Olympics their main purpose (at least from the government side of thing) is to do whatever they can to defeat Taiwan in the international tournaments. Often you will see them using all their aces against Taiwan in one game, and pretty much left no one else to face Japan and Korea.

      With the MLB heavily invested in China with all the developmental centres, I guess they are trying to look for the next Yao Ming from China, but for the MLB. I believe the Brewers signed a 16-year-old Chinese kid out of the MLB DC, apparently, that kid can touch 96mph with his fastball.

      All political issues aside, still good to see MLB is trying to push baseball in China. The CPBL sort of did that in the early 90s but failed and KBO tried around early 2000s and didn’t work.


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