Saturday, February 27, 2010

Despite My Warning, People Are Getting Their Hopes Up

According to a couple of articles I've read today (here and here) Manny Ramirez will be on the roster when the Dodgers come to Taiwan for their three game series later this month. Looking for confirmation I came across this article in the LA Times. It reads:

So take this news for what it's worth: Manny Ramirez is on the list of 33 players who will travel to Taiwan for three exhibition games March 12 to 14 against a Taiwanese all-star team.

He volunteered for the trip, which most of the players on the 25-man roster are skipping, but several club officials said they're not sure Ramirez will go.

He has wavered, according to these officials, saying on one day that he'll go, on another that he won't. That has kept the Dodgers from making a formal announcement. One of the officials shrugged and laughed.

Ramirez, asked Friday if he'll make the trip, said, "I don't know, papi. I don't know."

Attaboy, Manny.

I was thinking that staking a bet on Ramirez's appearance might be a fun thing to do. What harm can come from baseball-related gambling?

Friday, February 26, 2010

2010 Schedule Released

The league has announced its schedule for the upcoming season. Here it is, by the numbers:

Games: 240 (120 for each team)
Games per stadium:
Taichung       38    (Bulls home stadium)
Tainan           36    (Lions home stadium)
Kaohsiung     36    (Bears home stadium)
Hsinchu         31    (primarily Elephants)
Hsin Zhuang  27    (primarily Elephants)
Tienmu          23    (primarily Elephants)
Douliu           16    (up from only five last season)
Taoyuan        12    (new stadium)
Luodong            8      ("famed for its large, beautifully landscaped sports park" - wikipedia)
Pingtung          6    (back on the schedule)
Chiayi             4    (hasn't been the same since the Whales left)
Taichung Intl.  3    (new stadium)

For the first time since 2003 there will not be any games held in either Taitung or Hualien. Apparently players were "too exhausted" after having to travel all the way to the east coast for games. Pathetic.

Spring training  games (the Durian league?) take place from March 4-10 with each team playing 6 games.

There will be a break in June between the first and second halves of the season.

Print out you own schedule here. It's in Mandarin (these things don't come in English).

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hackman Back With Lions

Luther Hackman has returned for a third stint with the Lions. First signed in 2008, he has gone 8-2 with an ERA of around three in the last two regular seasons. It has been in the post season however, where the American has really excelled. His record of 5-1 coupled with an ERA of 2.30 (in 43 1/3 innings) was enough to earn MVP honors in both the 2008 and 2009 Taiwan Series.

Before coming to the CPBL Hackman spent parts of five seasons as a relief pitcher in MLB, playing in Colorado, St. Louis, and San Diego. His best stretch in the bigs was between 2001 and 2003 where he chalked up 193 and a third innings over 143 contests.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Scandal! Round 2

At least six more players are under investigation by the Panchiao District Prosecutor's Office for their role in the continuing match-fixing saga. All of these new suspects play for the Bears and have had their pay suspended. Curiously they have been allowed to continue training with the team. This probably has something to do with the fact that the team is  pretty short-handed at the moment, having already lost a dozen or so players from the first round of investigations.

Pitcher Wu Szu-yu was the first player interviewed by the authorities in this go-round. Wu began his career with the Bears in 2004, putting in three strong seasons with the team. He numbers earned the left-hander a contract in Japan with the Chiba Lotte Mariners in 2007. After playing two seasons with the Pacific League club, he returned to the Bears last year.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Opening Day 2010

(Lions Jia Yo repost 2 of 2)
The first game of the new season has been announced and, as per tradition, the two teams that ended the previous season will start the new one. That means it'll be the champion Lions squaring off against the Taiwan Series finalist Brother Elephants.The game takes place on March 20 at 5pm. 

Tickets are already on sale and the Liberty Times feel confident enough to report who the starting pitchers will be. Lions ace Pan Wei-Lun will take to the mound against Lin En-Yu of the Elephants.

This will be Lin's first start in the CPBL since he left for Japan three years ago. The former Macoto Cobras hurler joined the Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Central League in 2007, spending most of his time in their minor league system or on the disabled list.

This pitching match-up is being billed as the "Chicken Toot Wars" (according to google translator) due to the player nicknames of Dudu (translated as Toot for Pan) and Little Chick (sometimes translated as Chicken Little, for Lin)

The league also announced that the Lions and Elephants will open the brand new Taoyuan International Baseball Field on March 21. Still no word on the rest of the schedule however.

Lions Add Incredibly Wealthy Pitcher

(Lions Jia Yo repost 1 of 2)
Matt White is the newest foreign addition to the Lions pitching staff. Between 2003 and 2005 Matt pitched in 7 games in the majors: 3 with the Red Sox, 3 with the Mariners, and 1 with the Nationals. In 2007, after failing to make the Dodgers out of training camp, he joined the Yokohama Bay Stars of the Japanese Central League for the next two seasons. I have no idea where he played in 2009, as I can't find any information on the subject.

Matt also gained some attention for a stroke of good fortune regarding a property deal. To help out his great aunt, he bought 50 acres of mountain land from her for $50,000. He later found out that it was full of Goshen Stone, which apparently is some kind of extremely valuable rock. The estimated monetary amount of this rare mineral on White's property is 2.5 billion dollars.

Without having seen this guy pitch, I already wholeheartedly endorse this signing for the Lions. In the gangster friendly, corruption ridden environment that is the CPBL, foreign players have always been easy targets. The guys who come here from abroad are usually at the tail end of their careers, just looking to wring a few more paychecks from their arm, glove, or bat. For most of them Taiwan is a place they will only ever spend a few months of their entire lives in. When offered a sizable amount of money to throw a game in a league you've barely heard of, in a country you'll never visit again, it must be pretty easy to say ok.

Unless you're a guy worth billions of dollars.

Good luck trying to bribe him.


When I started this blogging project it seemed to me to be a good idea to have one blog that focussed on my local team (the Lions), and another that focussed on the rest of the league.

I no longer feel that this arrangement is such a good idea. This is primarily because I'm writing on a four team league. It seems kind of dumb to have 25% of my content on another site.

So I've decided to shut down my other blog (Lions Jia Yo) to focus solely on this one. I'll also be re-posting a couple of relevant articles from that site onto this one.

I hope you don't find this too irritating.


And Now For Some More Disappointing News...

For the second straight year the Asia Series has been cancelled. Known as the Konami Cup until 2007, the Asia series is (was?) an end of season baseball tournament that features the champions of Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and China. The games were held at the Tokyo Dome from 2005-2008 with the Japanese champion winning all four contests. Last season there was an abridged version of the competition in Korea that featured only the Korean and Japanese champs. The NPB's Yomiuri Giants defeated the KPO's Kia Tigers 9-4.

Representatives from each of the nations (except China) had been in talks recently of a possible series revival for 2010, but an agreement couldn't be reached due to prior scheduling conflicts. There seems to be a tentative agreement to resume the competition in 2011 with Taiwan slated to be the hosts.

Personally I'd love to see the Asia Series come to Taiwan.

And I hope the CPBL is still around in 2011 to send a team.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Don't Get Your Hopes Up

According to this article from
 "a Dodgers split squad will visit Taiwan for two exhibition games against a team from the Chinese Professional Baseball League." 

So the people who waited in line for hours and shelled out a fair bit of money for tickets get to see half of the Dodgers squad. 

"Few regulars are expected to make the trip, with James Loney and Jamey Carroll probable exceptions."

I guess that makes it less than half the team.

Feel the excitement.

(Note: a third game has since been added to this series)

*BONUS If you've ever wondered what a painting of Jamey Carroll would look like, check this out. Strange.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Elephants Add Six Imports to Spring Training

Looking to fill in some roster spaces that have been vacated due to recent events, the Brother Elephants have brought in six imports to compete for the four available foreigner allocation spots. Unsurprisingly, five of the players are pitchers, while the other appears to be some kind of globe-trotting all-rounder (to use a cricket phrase). Here's a brief rundown on each player.

Ryan Cullen: Cullen is the only returnee from last season, and as such appears to be the best bet for making the team. He spent the last decade bouncing around in the minor leagues, making it as high as AAA in the Mets organization. Cullen joined the Elephants in July of last season, earning 20 saves and posting an ERA of just 0.55  in 29 appearances. He also went 2-0 in the playoffs.

Orlando Roman: Like Cullen, Roman has spent the last decade touring around the minors, making it as high as AAA in the Mets organization. He has spent most of the last three seasons in the Mexican league as a reliever for the Pericos de Puebla. Roman has averaged over a strikeout an inning over the course of his career and would be expected to keep up that pace should he join the Elephants.

Jim Magrane: Like the last two, Magrane has the pitched ten seasons in the minors, making it as high as AAA (Tampa and Washington). He will compete for a starting pitcher berth and was the first import player looked at by the Elephants this spring training.

Carlos Castillo: At 36, Castillo is the oldest invitee and has a ton of experience. He made his MLB debut for the White Sox in 1997, spending three seasons in Chicago before changing his Sox for one last big league season with Boston in 2001.

The following season he took off to Japan to play for the Daiei Hawks. It seems that Castillo has a rough time, spending most of his only season there on the Hawks farm team. Since then, he has spent most of his time in the Independent league.

He will be trying to get a starting spot on the team.

Tracy Thorpe: Ten years in the minors, made it as far as AAA (Seattle, Toronto). Thorpe is a relief pitcher who spent last season in the Atlantic and Mexican leagues.

Ryan Murphy: This guy is 28 years old and I can't seem to find out what he was up to until 2007, when he started playing baseball in the Netherlands (they call it honkball).

He's been on a tear lately though.

Last season, Murphy was awarded the Dutch league MVP and their equivalent of the Cy Young award, posting an ERA of 0.89. He also played as a corner infielder and had a .312 batting average (just for the hell of it, I guess).

Not content with being a Dutch master, Murphy took off down under to play for South Australia in the Claxton Shield. He played mostly as a fielder until deciding to kick some ass and throw a complete game, two-hit shutout in his team's only victory of the best of three final series.

I have no idea what the Elephants plan on doing with this guy.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Good Guys

While there have been a boatload of players arrested recently, there have been a few who have managed to avoid the temptation of making a quick buck in exchange for throwing  games. One article that I've read mentions two players, Peng Cheng-Min and former Dodger Chen Chin-Feng,  for their tough "moral fiber" in rejecting suspicious advances. 

Though it's nice to know that not everybody is a crook in the CPBL, I notice that the players mentioned happen to be two of the best, and highest paid, in the league. Not to take anything away from these players, but it must be a lot easier for these guys to turn away from any bribe offers than their teammates who make quite a bit less. That an extremely popular (and well-paid) player like Chen "The Beard" Chih-Yuan appears to have accepted cash for games simply shows an immense amount of greed on his part.

Don't get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for both Peng and Chen (C.F.) and hope they have good seasons this year. But if the league is going to avoid any similar scandals in the future, it'll have to be due to the "tough moral fiber" of every player on the roster, from best to worst.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Calendar of Crooks

While it may be the middle of February, it's never too late to get yourself a new calendar; a calendar of crooks!

Making the rounds on the interweb is a new calendar that features prominent figures from the ongoing match-fixing scandal. It's called LET'S GO WIPERS and each month it features a different suspect (whose birthday is celebrated that month).

Get you own copy here. (I couldn't find the original link)


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Liberation Day!

Wang Chien-ming is no longer a Yankee!

I can't tell you how happy this makes me. I hate the Yankees more than any team in baseball.  For the past 5 seasons I've had to endure daily Yankee TV broadcasts (repeated ad nauseam), Yankee shirts, hats, and other paraphernalia wherever I looked, and constant news updates about the team.

No more.

Wang signed a one year deal with Washington today.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Check this stuff out

I've found a couple of CPBL-related links that you might find interesting.

The first is a nice synopsis of the latest scandal by Jonathan Adams over at , while the second is an in-depth look at Taiwan pro ball uniforms in the 90's from the excellent site


Friday, February 12, 2010

Still Looking for a Scapegoat

I've read a couple of articles lately that have wondered if the ongoing match-fixing scandal has a connection to two of the more embarrassing moments of Taiwan's baseball history, the national team losses to China during the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2009 World Baseball Classic.

Unfortunately these same articles recognize that, despite the months of investigations (and mountains of paperwork that have resulted from them), there doesn't appear to be any evidence to support this theory.

I guess I'm a little disappointed by this.

It would be so much easier to take if China's victories were dirty, achieved through bribery or other nefarious means. It's not hard to believe that China would stop at nothing make make Taiwan look bad, especially at such an important event like the Olympics. We already know that there are a few ball players on this side of the strait who can definitely be bought off. It's an easy conspiracy to believe.

If the theory was true, then Taiwan would have a handy scapegoat. The results can be blamed on a few crooked players who are criminals and traitors to their country. Clearly China's victories would be tainted, and local baseball fans could believe that their team is still superior to that from the mainland.

Yet there is no evidence that this is the case.

Unless some kind of proof appears to the contrary, then it seems that the Chinese won because they were the better team that day in 2008. And again in 2009.

That's a bitter pill to swallow.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bulls Fined For Shafting Yeh

The Sinon Bulls were fined NT$1.5 million by the Taipei City Labor Board for their "unfriendly attitude" toward player Yeh Chun-chang.

Basically what seems to have happened is that Yeh was fired for his involvement with the players union. Not content with just releasing him, the Bulls attempted to get him blacklisted by announcing that he had "moral and disciplinary problems". This smear tactic temporarily scared off the Elephants, who had shown an interest in signing the player.

But now the matter seems to be closed. Yeh has joined the Elephants, and has just been re-elected as a director of the players union. The Bulls have lost a veteran catcher and a fair bit of cash.

Match-fixing Fallout

Here's the latest on the CPBL's match-fixing scandal: