CPBL Foreign Players Updates Volume #58
Lamigo Monkeys News: Luke Heimlich
The Lamigo Monkeys caused quite a huge stir in Taiwan yesterday, with the announcement of signing a convicted child molester Luke Heimlich. After the immediate public backlash against the baseball team, the CPBL stepped in and terminated Heimlich’s contract.
[Update #1 August 7th, 6pm] The league now saying Heimlich’s case will be under further review, should the Monkeys can provide the documents that support Heimlich’s innocence, the league will approve the contract.
[Update #2 August 10th] After further reviewing the case, the league have officially rejected the contract of Luke Heimlich based on article 94 of the Players Misconduct Acts.
The signing of the 22-year-old sex offender came out of no where. Around 2pm, the Monkeys posted the news about the signing of the Oregon State University left-handed pitcher Luke Heimlich on their Facebook page.
In four seasons with the Oregon States University, Heimlich posted a combined record of 36 wins, 13 losses and a 2.49 ERA. He is currently the OSU’s all-time strikeout leader with 385 strikeouts. The talented lefty have been named Pac-12 pitcher of the year award in 2017 and 2018.
Initial Statements from the Lamigo Monkeys
“We have been tracking Luke Heimlich for some time now,” said the Monkeys’ general manager 劉玠廷 (Justin Liu). “We even received letters of recommendations from the Oregon States University and the MLB teams”
Liu also mentioned that Heimlich is a potential first round draft pick candidate in the MLB draft. It is unfortunate for someone of his calibre is unable to showcase his talent.
The Monkeys general manager did not disclosed whether the Lamigo Monkeys are aware of Heimlich’s background prior to the signing.
*Note: This MLB team turns out to be the Kansas City Royals.
Heimlich’s Child Molestation Charges
According to the reports from the United States. At the age of 15, Heimlich pleaded guilty to sexually molesting his six-year-old niece on numerous occasions.
Despite possess all the tools to becomes the first round draft pick in the MLB, Heimlich went undrafted for two straight years.
Taiwanese Community Reactions: The Backlash
It took exactly one minute before people from Taiwan’s online baseball community to recognised the name Luke Heimlich. And within an hour, the news about the Monkeys have signed a child molester have hit all the Taiwanese major media outlets.
Apart from the huge backlash in the media front, the Monkeys also took a beating on the social media. Angry fans flooded to the Monkeys Facebook page leaving hundreds of messages criticising the team for having the lack of common sense when signing new players.
Instead of making an official statement, the Monkeys front office did the most cowardly thing. They played dead, refused to comments on the issue, and started deleting all the negative messages on their Facebook page.
CPBL Statements: Contract Under Review
On August 7th, 4pm, two hours after the initial signing announcement, the CPBL official released the following statement.
The Lamigo Monkeys already have three registered foreign players in their organisation. Once the Monkeys have registered Luke Heimlich, the league will begin the status check process. Given his past criminal record in the United States, the league will required to review the case.
Around 6pm, the league followed up with a much tougher and strong statement.
Based on article 94 of the Players Misconduct Acts, Luke Heimlich’s criminal background clearly breached the rule when it comes to hiring new players.
By signing Heimlich, the Monkeys have damaged the league’s public image. Therefore, the league demand the Monkeys to terminate Heimlich’s contract immediately. The CPBL has a zero tolerance policy on this type of issues.
Around 6.30pm, the league back-peddled and changed its tone dramatically. While it still relaying the same message, but left some wiggle rooms for the Monkeys to appeal the case.
The league added another point to their previous statement, stating the case is currently under review. Should the Monkeys can provide sufficient enough of evidences to prove that Luke Heimlich is innocent, the league will approve of his contract.
Lamigo Monkeys Submit Documents for Review
On August 8th, the Monkeys submitted all the necessary documents to the league for further review. According to ETToday, the documents supposedly included a copy of the idHSC (Identity History Summary Checks) from the FBI.
The Deputy Secretary-General of the CPBL confirmed the league have received the documents from the Lamigo Monkeys. However, the league declined to comment on the details and how long this review process will take.
Lamigo Monkeys Second Public Statement
The Monkeys spoke with the media on August 8th just before game at the Xinzhuang Stadium. This is the Monkeys’ first ever public statement since the whole incident started.
“We applied the signing of Luke Heimlich on a tryout basis, we just have to wait for the league’s decision,” said the Vice General Manager of the Lamigo Monkeys 浦韋青 (Pu Wei-Ching). “The league will review all the documents that we submitted. At this stage, I will not be going into details about those documents.”
Reactions from Managers from the CPBL
On August 8th, the media asked the Lamigo Monkeys manager 洪一中 (Hong I-Chung) to comment on the signing of Luke Heimlich.
“I only found out about the signing of Luke Heimlich couple days prior,” said the Monkeys’ skipper 洪一中 (Hong I-Chung). “I did not look into Heimlich’s previous background, my job is to utilised the players that was given to me by the organisation to the best of my ability.”
Cory Snyder, the Chinatrust Brothers’ skipper had a much clearer and tougher opinion on this situation.
“I trust the CPBL have their own regulations when it comes to hiring new players, and rules are not meant to be broken,” said the Brothers manager Cory Snyder. “You follow and comply with the regulations, not trying to find loophole for it. Rules are not records, you can break the records, but not the other way around.”
CPBL Statements: Contract Still Under Review
On August 9th, three days after the signing of a convicted child molester Luke Heimlich was announced. The league still unable to provide an answer.
According to the CPBL Secretary-General, meetings have been arranged to review the case, and at this stage, the league is unable to provide a deadline for an answer.
CPBL Statements: Reject Heimlich’s Contract
On August 10th, the CPBL have officially rejected Luke Heimlich’s contract with the Lamigo Monkeys on basis of protecting the league’s public image.
According to the league, upon reviewing the additional documents supplied by the Lamigo Monkeys. Although there were different interpretations when it comes to Luke Heimlich’s case, however the act of pleading guilty to the molestation charge was facts.
Based on that, Heimlich has breached the article 94 of the Players Misconduct Acts, and the league will not approve of Heimlich’s contract.
Lamigo Monkeys Third Public Statement
On August 11th, the Lamigo Monkeys sent out a press release to all the media outlets and posed on their Facebook page.
The Lamigo Monkeys claimed Luke Heimlich had completed his probation without any further incidents, his record was supposed to be sealed. If the United States judicial system has given Heimlich a second chance in life, so why can’t the CPBL do the same?
The Monkeys then used NBA player Caron Butler as an example. Butler was a drug dealer at age 12 and was arrested multiple times before the age of 15.
Instead of shutting out Butler, the University of Connecticut provided him a second chance in life. Butler went on to have a 14-year professional career in the NBA and stayed clean the whole time.
Interestingly enough, in the press release, the Monkeys mentioned it was the Kansas City Royals that gave the recommendation letter for Luke Heimlich. And since the signing, the Monkeys have received multiple enquiries from the MLB scouts about Heimlich.
*Note: It is a fairly long press release, we did not translate everything, only the important parts.
2013 Players Misconduct Acts Explained
So, what is this Players Misconduct Acts? Here is the simplified version. In 2013, the CPBL implemented this new policy to ensure the teams will have a better hiring standard when it comes to new players.
Chapter 17, article 94 stated. All players with previous criminal records, violent crime charges, game-fixing charges and any misconducts that will damage the public image of the league will be dismissal immediately.
Luke Heimlich’s Chance in the CPBL: Highly Unlikely
*Disclaimer: I do not work for the league nor have any inside knowledge about this. My finding were purely based on the facts that were given either via the official press releases or news articles.
Long story short, Luke Heimlich will probably not be able to pitch in Taiwan. Here are the reasons why:
Convicted for child molesting. Regardless the record was sealed or not, it happened and Heimlich plead guilty to it. Which already breached the 2013 players misconduct acts.
Damaging the league’s overall public image. With all the domestic media outlets with the headline saying the CPBL have signed a child molester. It is pretty self explanatory with that.
From the CPBL perspective, after almost ten years of trying to keep clean, and with most of the teams have an overall marketing strategy targeting the family market. Having a convicted child molester in the league will be a huge blow to the public image.
But again, with the latest development where the Monkeys submitted the documents to the league and now the case is under review. Despite the chance is slim, but anything can still happen.
Previous Cases: Zero Tolerance Policy
Before Luke Heimlich, there were several cases where the league and teams ended up firing players using the misconduct policy.
Kyle Simon – Brothers – Drug Abuse
In 2017 during the pre-season, the Brothers have announced the signing of Kyle Simon from the Atlantic League. During the status check process, they found out Simon has previously received a 50-game suspension for a drug of abuse violation while in the MLB system.
Despite Simon did not finished serving his suspension, what end up nixing his contract was the “drug of abuse violation” which breached the players misconduct acts. Simon was released by the Brothers in just one day.
— CPBL STATS (@GOCPBL) February 6, 2017
Huang Sheng-Hsiung – Guardians – Domestic Violence
Perhaps one of the highly touted prospect in recent time. In May 2018, after conducting an internal investigation, the Fubon Guardians have terminated the contract of 2014 strikeout leader 黃勝雄 (Huang Sheng-Hsiung) over the domestic violence incident.
According to the news report, Huang struck his wife multiple times in the face while staying at the team’s dormitory.
#Fubon Guardians currently investigating the domestic violence allegation against 黃勝雄 (Huang Sheng-Hsiung). According to Guardians press release, the team might terminate his contract if proven to be true. Huang was drafted 1st round in 2013, with fastball tops at 150kph #CPBL pic.twitter.com/ePehBhYiKh
— CPBL STATS (@GOCPBL) May 16, 2018
Kuo Chiu-Yen – Monkeys – Sexual Assault
In March 2017, the Lamigo Monkeys fired the 2013 rookie of the year winner 郭修延 (Kuo Chiu-Yen) over sexual assault and breaking and entering charges.
According to the news report, after drinking, Kuo scaled the wall and sneak into a room of a female student and exposing his genital.
Kuo originally denied the allegations, but the CCTV have caught his despicable act on camera. He ended up being prosecuted and the Monkeys released him based on the misconduct policy.
— CPBL STATS (@GOCPBL) March 7, 2017
Tinfoil Hat Theory: What Are They Planning?
With the Monkeys insist on signing Heimlich, and the league being extremely slow at reviewing the case. It is hard not to start suspecting there might be something going on behind the scene.
Is it possible that the Monkeys have struck an under the table deal with a MLB organisation or Heimlich’s agent already? If you are interested in reading my tinfoil hat theory on this whole situation, you can read it here.