Biggest sports scandals in American history. The 1919 Black Sox withÂ Shoeless Joe and Buck Weaver. Roy Jones Jr. robbed in 1988 of a gold medal in Seoul Olympics.Â Pete Rose betting on baseball. Jim Thorpe being stripped of his gold medals. And the point-shaving and game fixing scandals that have spotted the history of college sports. All of these incidents share the common thread of a single or few, rogue individuals putting their interests above the integrity and fairness of sports. But none of these can quite reach the level of corruption that a Taiwanese baseball league has been plagued by.
The scandal came to a head on October 8th when prosecutors in Tiawan detained six members of the Dmedia sponsored T-Rex team including the CEOÂ Shih Jian-hsin, general manager, three players a player/coach, their manager, as well as four bookies. They’re being charged with crimes relating to ten fixed games dating back to March of 2008. The player/coach is a pitcher and the teams hitting coach, Cory Bailey, a U.S. citizen and former Major League Baseball player.
Additionally, the prosecutor’s office has reported that the executive director of the T-Rex team, Shih Chien-hsin, has confessed to what many had already believed, that the team executives were in collusion with a ring of mobsters who were actually running the team, and organizing the match-fixing.
Since they’re arrests, all six members of T-Rex have been fired from the team and can never be re-hired since they’ve been involved with match-fixing, by CPBL (Chinese Professional Baseball League) rules. After being released, Cory Baily allegedly returned/fled back to the United States. And although his representatives have claimed that he will return to Taiwan to face prosecution when the time comes, the authorities are much less optimistic that they will ever see him on Taiwanese soil again. Baily has repeatedly denied any involvement in the scandal. He has cited the importance of honor to himself and his family for why he would never involve himself in something like this and has said that the press reports that he confessed to his involvement in the scandal are false. Several of the players, fearing retaliation from the mob have had to video tape their deposition and entered into protective custody.
In an attempt to maintain what little integrity is left for the league, CPBL officials have repeatedly apologized to fans, banned Baily, playersÂ Chen Ke-fan, Chen Yuan-chia and manager Wu Chao-hui from the league, suspended the Dmedia T-Rex team and canceled all of their remaining games. Formally expelling the team on October 23rd.
Prior to this year, T-Rex was known as Macoto Cobras, but was renamed after it was purchased by Dmedia Corporation. When the CEO purchased the Cobras in 2007, he allegedly financed the team with help from gangs and money launderers. Not surprising the anyone other than perhaps the CEO, the gangs then used their financial leverage to control the team and players to make huge gambling profits.
With the team suspension, the league has been reduced from six to five teams for this year. And it is unlikely that will change next year as it will be nearly impossible for T-Rex to get another sponsor while everyone associated with the team scrambles to distance themselves.
Compounding this nightmarish situation is the fact that this has happened before. Back in 1996 another game-fixing scandal broke out and was so perverse that the league was forced to disband the China Times Eagles. Hopefully this will be the last time they have to clean up a mess of this magnitude. Because as the crowds in the stadiums and viewers at home continue to dwindle, the next scandal could mean the end of the league.