With the 2017 WBC tournament just a weeks away, but it’s hard for me to get excited for the Taiwanese national team due various reasons and here’s the reason why.
Just some background before I start. In Taiwanese baseball scene, there are two major organisations CPBL (Professional) and CTBA (Amateur)
- CPBL (Taiwan’s professional baseball league)
- CTBA (Private organisation that handles amateur baseball and the Taiwanese national team)
CTBA is an organisation filled with former politicians. Their agenda isn’t putting baseball development first, their goal is to secured as much government funding as possible so they can put it back into their pocket.
How do they get the funding? Well, by playing well in various international tournaments. In order to achieve that, CTBA will do whatever it takes which including mistreating/ overusing players.
Here’s a few CTBA incidents in the past
增菘瑋 (Tseng Sung-Wei)
CTBA overused Cleveland Indians prospect 增菘瑋 (Tseng Sung-Wei) in 2006. In a 7-game tournament, the young kid threw total of 221 pitches in 5 appearances as both SP and RP within a week.
When being enquired by the Indians organisation about over using their prospect. Here’s the response from CTBA “221 pitches is not that much, our goal is to win“. Tseng was never the same after that tournament. (Tseng was an university student that’s able to hit 156kph/ 97mph on the radar)
There’s a huge list of players basically ruined their professional career because of CTBA. In some cases, CTBA even refused to pay for the cost of rehab and surgeries.
Forcing players to participate in international tournaments
There’s a history of CTBA forcing professional players to play for the national team. In Taiwan, all males citizens are required to do 4 months to 2 years military service. Therefore CTBA often use the military service as a method to threaten players into playing for the national team.
The most recent case would be the 2014 Incheon Asian Games. Where bunch of CPBL players and MiLB players were forced to participate during the regular season.
Update in July 2017 – CTBA did it once again, forcing 3 CPBL professional players to abandon their season to participate in 2017 Universiade game. Which is a low tier tournament for university students.
Mismanagement/ embezzlement of government funding
Over the years, CTBA is known for falsify their financial statements. It has been reported CTBA 2015 income declaration is about 1 million USD short from the actual amount. Also after further examinations, the the tickets/ broadcasting rights revenues from the Premier 12 tournament does not add up.
The Sports Administration department that’s in charge of funding allocation and monitoring the action of CTBA choose to do nothing about it. Why? If you take a closer look into the member of Sports Administration you’ll find several senior board member of CTBA on the list.
It is essentially the left hand asking money from the right hand.
Update in July 2017 – It’s been reported that CTBA falsify their financial statements for the 2017 WBC tournament. They were supposed to allocate a portion of the revenues to players but that amount magically disappear and players did not received the payment they were promised.
Allegations of bribe & corruption with WBSC/ IBAF
There’s rumour of CTBA taking government funding that was meant for high school baseball development and use it for personal gain. As in “donation/ bribes” to maintained the vice president position within the WBSC (World Baseball Softball Confederation)
And the list goes on and on…
Players are just another money making tool
CTBA does not care about players nor the development of baseball in Taiwan. Baseball players to them it is just another tool to further their political/ personal gain.
And this is why the reason I support this boycott movement by Lamigo Monkeys in 2017 WBC tournament. Baseball as a sport in Taiwan will not go forward until we have a clean organisation that is willing to be open and transparent with their government funding with the public.