The China Post news staff
Just when local fans are in high hopes in anticipation of the upcoming baseball season that will kick off next month, heart-breaking news again hit Taiwan baseball as Lu Wen-sheng (呂文生), manager of the Uni-President Lions, was embroiled in another round of game-fixing claims. Lu, skipper of the defending championship-winning Lions in the local Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) and his wife were questioned by prosecutors earlier this month over alleged connections with an underground gambling group. The couple were later released on bail after admitting to prosecutors they were guilty to charges of breach of trust by using his wife to pass valuable information about the team’s game strategy to bookies. Even though Lu resigned from his post following his release on bail, and even with Lu repeatedly stressing that he is not involved in any game-fixing activities and apologized for “being negligent to the background of my wife’s friends,” the latest incident could deal another heavy blow to the CPBL. The stunning case again shattered locals’ hopes that Taiwan baseball could finally break away from the controversies that have plagued the league during its 22-year history. Lu’s reputation made the case even more surprising to all. The 50-year-old had served as manager for the Lions since 2007, claiming a total of four championship titles in the league during his tenure. His easy-going attitude also made him widely popular among fans and members of his team. The incident serves as an alarm to the league just when it seems to be ready to face a new start this year, with a long-awaited major salary rise and the introduction of a full-scale minor league system, in the hope of breaking away from its old problems and embracing new fans.