Baseball season in Taiwan opens amid COVID-19 as the first in the world


Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) Opening Day: The Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions defeated the Chinatrust Brothers, 4-1 in 11 innings, in Taichung. The regular season will run through 14 October. The All-Star Game has been cancelled for the first time in 31 years.

TAICHUNG, Taiwan -- The Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) opened its 2020 season on Monday, 13 April, as the first professional baseball organization in the world to proceed with its season under the outbreak of COVID-19.

The Chinatrust Brothers and Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions played 11 innings of baseball in front of empty seats at Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium to mark the official start of baseball season. Chinatrust Brothers starter Ariel Miranda threw the first pitch of the 2020 season, and the Lions broke the 1-1 tie in the top of the eleventh to claim the victory, 4-1, in the first professional baseball game played in the 2020 season.

CPBL was originally scheduled to open its season on 14 March and planned to suspend the season for the Tokyo Olympic Final Qualifier scheduled in early April. After the outbreak of the pandemic, opening day was first pushed back to 28 March and then postponed again to 11 April. After consulting with local governments and medical authorities, CPBL decided to open the season closed-door and limit the number of persons including team members, league staff and media under 500 per game to comply with government’s pandemic prevention guidelines.

Taichung Mayor Shiow-Yen Lu stated: "We fully support the opening of the professional baseball season. The fact that we can have a baseball season reflects our solid achievement in coronavirus prevention. I also hope that this can be an encouragement and motivation to the world in fighting against the pandemic."

Leagues and major tournaments across various sports have either been suspended, postponed or cancelled outright. Baseball leagues, including Major League Baseball (MLB), the Mexican Baseball League (LMB), Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) and the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), have all postponed the start of their seasons.

As the first and only running sports league in the world, CPBL has been receiving tremendous attention from international media and fans. More than 100 media members, including Associated Press, Reuters, AFP, EPA, Kyodo News Agency and NHK applied for credentials for season-opening games. International feeds of the games as well as English broadcasting were also made available internationally by the owners of CPBL television rights.

Under the impact of COVID-19, CPBL also announced the cancellation of its All-Star Game for the first time in its 31 years of history. The delayed season will run until 14 October while post-season play will start on 30 October and finish as late as 15 November.

CPBL is a WBSC Associate Member as is KBO, which is planning to open its season in May and NPB, which is eyeing its opening day in June.


25 Years at #1: Your best source of news about the Olympics is, for subscribers only

Recent Articles

From ceremonial flourish, to ceremonial award; I’mPOSSIBLE awards given out at Tokyo 2020

The iconic moment when Russian Paralympian, Alexey Chuvasev, changed the word impossible to the phrase I’m possible has now gone full circle with a set of I’mPossible Awards given out at Tokyo 2020.

Pandemic forces torch lighting ceremony for Beijing 2022 to be held without spectators in Olympia

For the second straight Olympics, the traditional week-long relay through Greece before the torch departs for the host country has also been called off due to COVID-19.

David Beckham gains power at Inter Miami, who look to Lionel Messi as future star

After Qatar 2022, the next World Cup, 2026, will be played in Mexico, Canada and the United States. Being part of MLS before 2026 would imply an important business synergy for the U.S. League, Inter Miami itself and the player.

David Beckham gana peso en el Inter de Miami, que mira a Lionel Messi como futura estrella

Tras Qatar 2022, el siguiente Mundial, el de 2026, se jugará en México, Canadá y Estados Unidos. Ser parte de la MLS antes del 2026 implicaría una importante sinergia de negocios tanto para la Liga estadounidense como para el propio Inter Miami y el jugador, campeón olímpico en Pekín 2008.

Vladimir Putin will attend Beijing Olympics despite Russian government officials being banned due to doping sanctions

The Russian president is the first major head of state who has signed up for the Games as China faces potential diplomatic boycott.