Friday, January 30, 2009

The next big bailout

The government is set to establish a farm team system and develop a minor league program. No, the Yankees aren't getting a bailout. It's in Taiwan, and the government, more prone to fighting than legislating, is going to come together to help the big leagues, giving up the total of $300,000 to get it going.

Leaders of the four CPBL teams — the Sinon Bulls, La New Bears, Uni-President Lions and Brother Elephants — jointly attended a press conference called by Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) as the latter announced the government’s plan to boost the professional baseball league.

The main reason behind the offer:

The CPBL, which was founded in 1989, has experienced a slump in recent years as
a result of rampant gambling and game fixing.

I would see that being a big drawback to the US government giving that kind of money to a professional sports league. Given their attitude towards steroids, I can't imagine them giving any help to a league having gambling problems. Not when their are banks and automakers to bail out, who are completely above board in their financial dealings.

But baseball is important in Taiwan, and the government doesn't feel that there is enough of a population base to sustain the league entirely on its own:

“Normally a population of 10 million can sustain a good baseball team. Taiwan, a nation of 23 million people, has four teams. You can imagine how difficult it is for the four enterprises to run a baseball team … This year will mark the 20th year of the CPBL. The government will work closely with the four teams to invigorate the baseball league,” Liu said.
This benevolence is not without its price, however. There is a cost to the teams:

Meanwhile, each of the four teams has agreed to adopt baseball fields in a county or city, home to its parent company, to encourage the feeling of belonging and inclusion among the local population.

CPBL president Chao Shou-po (趙守博) called for higher government spending to develop baseball teams in elementary and junior high schools.
Some of the players have a clue and have figured out how to fix the problems plaguing the league:

Hong Ruei-he (洪瑞河), captain of the Brother Elephants, said that eradicating gambling problems was the most crucial factor in winning back baseball fans.
Gee, ya think.

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