What exactly is the CPBL playoff? Is this the best of the best? I guess the playoffs are starting Friday?
I don’t get how it’s structured. Can anyone explain?
There’s 4 teams, I guess usually 2 make it, the winner of the first half of the regular season and the winner of the second half. This year, the same team won both the first and second half, so the next two teams based on total first half and second half winning percentage play a 5 game series. Winner of that series advances to the final 7 game series against the first/second half champion. Seems about right for Taiwan.
I don’t see the appeal in watching just four teams play each other over an over again. There should be at least 10 or 12 teams. Then it would make sense to have the best four of the season to have a playoff.
As @squall1 mentioned, this post season starts with a 5 game challenge series between the Uni Lions and Chinatrust Brothers.
The winner of the challenge series goes on to the Taiwan Series, however, they would automatically log a loss to the Lamigo Monkeys in the 7 game series. So the Monkeys would only need to win 3 games to claim the title, but the winner of the challenge series would need to win 4.
They originally came up with this post-season structure hoping to avoid the team with the highest winning percentage for the entire season not being in the post-season. In the past this has happened several times, as other teams surged either in the first or the second half of the season to claim half season titles, and go on to play in the Taiwan Series, with the best team year-round off to an early vacation. That has led to teams deliberately aiming for just playing well for a half season, and playing like crap through the other half.
So to promote teams giving their best throughout the year, in case the team with the highest winning percentage didn’t win either half season, it will play the challenge series with the half season champion with a lower season winning percentage. In that case when the winner goes on to the Taiwan Series, it would not give up the 1 game handicap, and the teams with play a normal best out of 7 series.
This year it’s the special case where the team with the highest winning percentage is also the champion of both half seasons. Therefore the challenge series is played by the teams with the 2nd and 3rd best winning percentages. The one game handicap is there to make sure if they win the Taiwan Series they would really have to overcome not having done well during the regular season.
Unfortunately, there’s a side effect to this structure. For a while the Lions, the Brothers, and the Monkeys were in a tight race for the 2017 second half season champion. As time went on, it became increasingly obvious that the Brothers weren’t going to claim the title for themselves. In order for the Brothers to win a spot in the post-season, they would need the Monkeys to be champions of both half seasons. That meant any win against the Monkeys in the remainder of the games diminishes the chance of Brothers being in the post-season.
The Brothers then moved several stars, including Chiang Chih-hsien, Lin Chih-sheng, Peng Cheng-min, Wang Sheng-wei, and Cheng Da-Hung to the farm. Many have speculated the Brothers sent their 5 highest paid players down in order to give the Monkeys the title. However, when the Monkeys claimed the second half champion in the last game of the season, the Brothers were reluctant to say if these 5 players would play in the post-season. Then, some of these big name players were seen by fans abroad, at Japan’s Universal Studios. The fans then found out these players have been on vacation since Oct 8, prior the the last game of the season, meaning the team never planned to bring them into the post-season in the first place.
The Brothers then released a statement that raised even more speculations. The most likely guess is that these stars weren’t getting along with James Cory Snyder, the manager. They were sent down as a warning to the rest of the team.
There used to be more teams. But most talents go over to Japan and even Korea or they get scouted early and go to the US to get developed early on. Plus the gambling scandal hurt the CPBL that was already just barely getting by.
My dream is eventually have a team join the Nippon league. Have one Taiwanese team, the Taipei bears play the Tokyo giants. I’m sure way more people would come see that.
That would be pretty terrible for baseball in Taiwan. You are essentially cutting off 150 professional level player jobs right here in Taiwan. When playing baseball doesn’t even have a valid career growth, even less people will let their children play baseball. It is already ridiculously difficult to be on a team now. Unless NPB rules that all Taiwanese players counts as native Japanese players and foreign player limit won’t apply to Taiwanese players, that’s a sure fire way to kill off baseball in Taiwan.
In 2006, the Tokyo Giants proposed to nullify restrictions to Asian players, hoping to solidify NPB as the premier Asian professional baseball. Needless to say, that plan didn’t get anywhere.
I could see that the CPBL stays. But have a special draft rule and rules for the taiwan team.
Maybe taiwan gets first dibs on Taiwanese players, unless another team can match. There has to be a way to make it work. It would provide more jobs for baseball and top dollar for players that previously CPBL can’t provide. I’m certain team revenue would be much higher if taiwan fielded a team in the Nippon league.
So even without their top 5 paid players, Snyder managed to steer a team comprised of mostly newbies past the favorited Lions in the challenger series. Both teams actually has similar stats, but the Brothers managed to stay one step ahead of the Lions and advance to the Taiwan series, which begins this Friday.
The most critical play in the entire challenger series is probably this one:
Top of the 9th in game 3, Lions down by 1, and veteran Lion Pan Wei-lun hit a deep fly ball to left field. The runner at second decided to advance to 3rd after the ball was caught. He was called out and the Lions never came back from that one.
In the mean time, Lamigo Monkeys have been playing practise games amongst themselves while they wait for one to emerge from the challenger series. They had Zack Segovia and Darin Downs go into the booth and commentate on the game. It was pretty fun listening to them talk about the game and team interactions.
Bottom of the 3rd, commentated by Downs
Top of the 4th, commentated by Downs
Bottom of the 4th, commentated by Downs
Bottom of the 8th, commentated by Segovia
Top of the 9th, commentated by Segovia
Bottom of the 9th, commentated by Segovia
Used to be 11 actives teams back in the day. But game-fixing happened and it has been a 4 teams league since 2009.
The league recently released the perquisites for new teams expansion, so I guess let’s wait and see if we’re going to have another 2 teams.
As for the #2 and #3 played first before Taiwan Series. It’s an outdated rule from back in the day, they just never change it unfortunately.
Young player retention is a big problem in Taiwan, especially when it comes to pitchers.
In a way, I wish CPBL have some sort of protection policy similar to Korea. Where if a young player sign with oversea team before playing in KBO, once they come back to Korea, they’ll have to serve a 2 years ban before I can play in the KBO.
Taiwan’s pro league is unable to do what NPB and KBO are doing because of the Chinese Taipei Baseball Association. In Japan and Korea, no such organization exists. NPB and KBO are in charge of professional and amateur baseball.
In Japan, NPB is a part of Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. It is put in charge of all amateur baseball by law. If you sign with a foreign team without NPB approval, you are basically done in Japan. You won’t be able to play or coach baseball at any level in Japan.
Since CPBL doesn’t have that kind of status, amateur baseball in Taiwan is supposedly organized by CTBA. In the 20 years, relations between CPBL and CTBA has deteriorated. It doesn’t help that CTBA is pretty corrupt like most of the sport associations here in Taiwan. With that dynamics, players don’t really care whether or not CPBL mandate they play in Taiwan first. Nor does CPBL have the authority to do so in the first place.
The only way I can think of to get around that is CPBL as a league to implement that policy themselves. But I think a 4 team league this sort of policy is way too early. I guess they just need to start focusing on different way to retain young pitchers.
It’s a long hard battle, but I really hope this National Sports Act can make the sports scene in Taiwan better, just too many backroom deals and corruptions with those private sports association.
Taiwan Series is in full swing. The teams split the two games this past weekend at Taoyuan, however the Brothers has the one game handicap so the Monkeys are ahead in the series by 2-1.
Most people were pretty shocked when the Brothers won the first game. The Monkeys seemed rusty coming out of a 17 day rest. Even though Zeke Spruill, one of the league’s best pitcher only gave up 2 earned runs, fielding errors and sub-par bullpen performance gave up another 6 runs. The Monkeys tried to mount a come back exploiting Brother’s own bullpen issues at the bottom of the 9th, but they fell short, ending the game with 8-5.
Game 2 started out the same way. The Brothers caught Darin Downs by surprise and racked up 5 runs in the first 4 innings, including a 2 run home run by Chang Chih-Hao in the first inning. The Monkeys caught a break when a routine ground ball took an irregular hop past unexpected Brothers’ second baseman. That play seemed to have opened up a flood gate of Lamigo offence, allowing them to score 6 runs in one inning. The Monkeys blew past the Brothers 14 to 5 in the second game.
Game 3 is tonight at Taichung.
Game 3 can be summed up by this video:
It was a blood bath… The game ended with 19-3. The Monkeys broke multiple Taiwan Series offence records. Outfielder Lin Cheng-fei became the youngest player to hit a homerun in the Taiwan Series and the player with the most RBI, 8, in a single Taiwan Series game.
I’m excited for Lin Ying-Chieh beating the Taiwan Series curse! 17 season, 6 teams, but no championship ring! Would be good, if the skipper use Lin for at least 1 inning in the Taiwan Series.
It will be a good way to wrap up his career I think.
So, game 4 was over awhile ago, and unlike the blow out in game 3, the Brothers were able to hold the Monkeys back to just 4 points. However, their own offence stopped at Zheng Chih-hao’s two solo home runs. Lamigo takes the Taiwan Series 4 to 1.
This would also be the Brothers’ 4th straight Taiwan Series defeat in consecutive seasons. For the past 4 years the Brothers have always managed to enter TS, but was unable to clinch the title.
The trouble didn’t stop there for the Brothers, as the situation of benching their highest paid players plays itself out after the Taiwan Series. The owner and GM of the team kept making mystic statements regarding the benched players, such as “Have you heard of players drinking and playing ball in Japan or the MLB?” or “You will see if any of the other teams would want to hire these players.”
Multiple media pundits began making wild and unsupported speculations about what each of the players did to piss off management. Including goes as far as to insinuate some of the players are fixing games. The club also failed to deny these speculations immediately.
The Brothers announced that they will not resign 7 players one day before the awards ceremony. The players include closer Chen Hung-wen, pitcher Lin Ko-Chien, Lin Yu-Ching, Lo Kuo-hua, catcher Cheng Da-Hung, fielder Chiang Chih-hsien, and Chang Cheng-wei.
During the 2017 award ceremony, several of the benched and fired players pleaded for their innocence in a teary display. Then several of the players held hearings with the support of the players’ union and their agents to dispel the rumors. Chiang Chih-hsien didn’t hold a hearing, but went straight to court to sue the news outlet that claimed that some players fixed games.
The Brothers’ management has since made statements saying the team didn’t make any game fixing allegations. They also retracted on the drinking during the game statement, saying they meant drinking during the season, not during the game.
The Brothers’ horrendous PR is pretty much inexcusable. The owner, China Trust Bank, is one of the largest corporations in Taiwan. All they needed to do is spell out which player was let go for what reason, and they could have avoided all this PR nightmare. Instead the management lumped all the players together, and made mystic allegations about the group of players as a whole, then failed to curb media speculations for a couple of weeks.
On a lighter note, the Asia Professional Baseball Championship will take place next week in Tokyo. Not to be confused with the Asia Series in the past, this time each league will put together a team of players under the age of 24, with less than 3 years of pro-ball experience.
There are 3 exhibition games between team Taiwan and Japan’s Lotte Marines in Taoyuan starting today.
Exactly that, this is like the Chinatrust Whales incident all over again. Should have just be transparent in the beginning. My theory is, they want to release them, but don’t want other teams to pick them up.
CPBL bullpens exceeded everyone expectation. While the lineup struggled to getting runners home at crucial situation. Just a few more days to get into game mode, hopefully Team Taiwan will be ready for the tournament in Tokyo.
and yet China Trust time and time again opted to do this in a way that stirs up rampant speculations and damages the sport as a whole…