Infusion of new blood could bring new life to local baseball

The China Post news staff

The months-long melodrama centering on the Sinon Corporation’s (興農集團) announcement to sell its baseball team because of financial difficulties finally came to an end in mid-December 2012 after Sinon reached an agreement with E-United Group (義聯集團). E-United, a Kaohsiung-based conglomerate with manufacturing, education, health care and real estate interests, purchased the Sinon Bulls (興農牛), who play in the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL), in a NT$130 million deal. After taking over the operation from Sinon, the franchise has received a new name: the E-DA Rhinos (義大犀牛), named after the conglomerate’s famous theme park in Kaohsiung: E-DA World (義大世界). The historic deal is a desirable end for all parties involved: Sinon, the CPBL and E-United.

First and foremost, the purchase successfully prevented the CPBL from collapsing. After all, if nobody stepped in to buy the Bulls franchise, the league would have been left with only three teams and would likely have disbanded. Even more importantly, the agreement is expected to bring new blood to a league that has been running in debt for years following one game-fixing scandal after another. Since taking over the Bulls’ operation, the Kaohsiung-based company has demonstrated to local fans why it can do a better job running a ball club than some of the three existing CPBL teams, including its predecessor. It only took two days for the team to organize a new bus, which will be responsible for the team’s island-wide transportation for the upcoming baseball season. With the 2013 season set to kick off in March, the company prepared a dormitory for players and arranged spring training facilities for the team at I-Shou University (義守大學), which is owned by the E-United Group.