2020 Chinese Professional Baseball League Season
Baseball, just like most sporting events, has been a victim of the much-dreaded pandemic, COVID-19. Most leagues hoped to have their seasons running by now. But they have since been forced to defer their opening days. While most leagues target future dates, the Chinese Professional Basketball League (CPBL) just kicked off April 11, 2020, after it was rescheduled from March 14.
Saturday’s opening game between the Rakuten Monkeys and the CTBC Brothers, unfortunately, had to be postponed due to a torrential downpour in Taiwan. Notwithstanding, baseball fans were treated to some great baseball on Sunday.
Despite the delays and an empty stadium, nothing seemed to stand between baseball fans and their love for the game as the Chinatrust Brothers took on the Uni-President 7-Eleven.
Before we explore key highlights observed in the opening game of the 2020 season, here is an overview of the CPBL in preparation for the 2020 season.
The 2020 CPBL has five teams: Chinatrust Brothers, Fubon Guardians, Rakuten Monkeys, Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions, and the Wei Chuan Dragons. Taiwanese corporations sponsor each of the teams in the league.
- How the Season Works
The Chinese baseball season is structured just like the MLB. The baseball season runs from March to October (but 2020’s opener was pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic). Unlike the MLB, the CPBL uses a split-season model, which divides the season into two 60-game halves.
Winners in each half-season earn a place in the playoffs. In exceptional instances, a team can qualify for the playoffs if it receives a wild-card berth after finishing the seasons with a superior win percentage to either of the two half-season winners. The winner of the playoffs, thus, advances to the Taiwan Series.
In the Taiwan Series, the winner of the playoff series gets to play against the half-season winner with the best win percentage. You can see the stats here, continuously updated as the season progresses.
In the case that a single team wins both half-seasons, sides with the second and third-highest win percentage get to take part in the playoffs. And the team that wins both seasons gets to play against the winner of the playoffs with a 1-0 advantage.
- How to Watch the CPBL
As it stands, baseball fans can watch the CPBL in two ways. They can follow the action on CPBL TV, or stream the games. When it comes to streaming, there is a free option that offers access to limited games. But if you need unlimited access, you might need to pay a subscription to CPBL TV.
Unlike in the past, baseball fans will not enjoy the same privileges as they previously did. The Chinese Taipei Baseball Association has made it clear that fans will not be allowed into the stadiums in an attempt to abide by social distancing rules. The situation, however, will be assessed on a case-by-case basis to determine when fans will be allowed into the stadium. With so much sports still closed around the world, the bets and bettors are finding this League a splash of color in an otherwise fearful daily life with very little to bet on. Should you want to place a bet, try asiabet.org to find the safest and most secure sportssites to use!
Key Highlights in the CPBL 2020 Season Opener
Cheng Hits the First Home Run
Kei-Wen Cheng, who plies his trade with the Uni-Lions, went down in history as the first player to hit a home run in the 2020 season. By extension, this made him the first player in the world to make a professional home run this year.
Uni-President Beat China Trust Brothers
During the first game of the season, Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions managed to win over their worthy opponents Chinatrust Brothers by a 4-1 margin, in an 11-inning game that lasted more than four hours.
Unlike in the past, 2020’s opener was a no-fans affair. Despite the postponement of the match between the Rakuten Monkeys and the CTBC Brothers, the Monkeys opted to have cardboard cutouts and robot “fans” on the seats, which is indicative of what the 2020 season will hold. This was undoubtedly a key highlight in baseball, which is traditionally known for noisy crowds, cheerleaders, and synchronized chants.
As it stands, the CPBL remains to be the only baseball division in action. As much as these developments bring some hope, it is highly likely that baseball fans will not be having the 2020 CPBL All-Star Game. What remains for baseball fans is to enjoy what the lone CPBL has to offer as they hope for a sooner return to play.