The league took a break from its pre-season schedule so it could head down to Kaohsiung for its annual oath-taking ceremony. This ceremony has extra resonance this year due to the off-season investigations, and the league is trying extremely hard to put on an optimistic face. Held at the Dream Mall on a busy Sunday afternoon, the spectacle involved solemn (awkward) speeches from representatives of each team, players interacting with their fans, and dancing, lots of dancing.
While seeing players strut their stuff on the dance floor may seem a little weird to the outsider, this sort of thing is not that unusual over here. During the Lions open house last month, there were a few players singing along with KTV machines, and team ace Pan Wei-Lun put on a magic show. These players are far from the aloof, spoiled millionaires you might see in the big leagues, and they clearly have to perform duties the average pro might feel beneath them.
There is little doubt that the CPBL is going to suffer at the gate this season, and some of the people who will suffer the most will be these players. Seeing what they must endure just to play the game they love, it seems a little unfair that the public will be staying away from this season's games because of the actions of last season's (now expelled) players.
Yes, Taiwanese professional baseball has had immense problems with match-fixing in the past and it is probably naive to think that this season will be any different. But if you're a baseball fan here in Taiwan, then this is the league you're stuck with, and maybe (just maybe) they'll get things sorted out.