Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Dodgers Searching for More "Type-A" Players in Taiwan?

The Dodgers are looking to extend their Asia spring training trip in March 2008 by playing games not only in China, but also a quick stop to play ball in Taiwan. Details haven't been made available, but I suppose since the Dodgers are already up a 16-hour flight, why not skip by Taipei as well and look for the next Chin-Lung Hu or Hong-Chih Kuo?

Immediately after the games on March 15-16 at the 12,000-seat Olympic baseball facility, the Dodgers are eyeing another pair of exhibition games in neighboring Taiwan on March 18-19, confirmed Bob DuPuy, Major League Baseball's president and chief operating officer.

"That's what they're looking at," said DuPuy, as two days of uneventful owners meetings wound down on Thursday morning.

The thing is, it won't be against the Padres, who are already planning on returning to Arizona to continue Spring Training immediately after their second exhibition game in Beijing, but against a still-to-be determined squad of Taiwanese nationals. [...]

Jamie McCourt, the Dodgers president and vice chairman, declined to comment on Thursday about the projected excursion. [...]

Beijing will host the Summer Olympics from next Aug. 8-24, and is staging what may be the final baseball medal competition of the summer games in two small ballparks outside the city. Demonstration games were already played there this past summer and the exhibition games between the Dodgers and Padres are slated for the larger of the two facilities, which holds 12,000 people. [...]

The delay in making that announcement has nothing to do at this point with MLB, DuPuy said, since the Padres, Dodgers and players union are all in agreement about going.

"It's getting the permits from the [Chinese] government," he said on Wednesday. "It's an administrative process and we want to be very sensitive to the needs and the protocols of the Chinese government. It's the first time we've ever done this and they're very busy with it being their Olympic year. They've been very supportive of it and we're hopeful of getting it done."

It may be too much to expect Frank McCourt to be cognizant of world events, given he's too busy figuring out how to justify another price increase through the Joe Torre signing. However, even a cursory read of world news would have highlighted that China and Taiwan aren't exactly on great terms right now, what with the smaller island country again taking steps toward asserting its independence from the larger mainland China government. So, if the MLB permits to (mainland) China haven't yet been issued, that Dodgers Taiwan trip may not have been something you'd want to publicize just yet.

Not to mention the fact that all this foreign travel gives a kick to the crotch of Vero Beach, which appears to be getting at best a split-squad visit this spring, in the Dodgers' final visit to Florida. No confirmation, as of yet, of the rumor that Juan Pierre is the only player currently named to the Florida split squad.


Xeifrank said...

Any idea what kind of permits the Dodgers need from the Chinese government to play baseball games in Taiwan following their trip to China? Permits make it sound like China is the governing body of Taiwan, which it isn't (yet).

I could see not wanting to upset the Chinese government or the baseball people in China who are helping with the trip to mainland China, but what does that have to do with permits.

Taiwan doesn't allow direct flights from Beijing to Taipei, but I believe that would be Taiwan's call, not China's call. They could easily fly to Korea, Japan, Filippines or perhaps even Hong Kong if a direct flight was the problem.

Just curious.

vr, Xei

Steve Sax said...

My read on it was that the Chinese permits to visit BEIJING weren't even granted yet, which makes the announcement of a subsequent Taiwan visit a little hasty.

Good point on the direct-flights issue; this is spot-on and I remember this issue when I had visited. I doubt that the Dodgers had researched this point, but I anticipate that Drew McCourt thought the team could take a bus from Beijing to Taipei.

Is Rob Filippo from the Filippines? Or is this another famous Kuo/Guo spelling convention?

vr, Sax