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Bite recruits Taiwanese slugger Chang Tai-Shan
08/28/2017 12:21 AM ET
Taiwanese slugger, Chang Tai-Shan will play for the Adelaide Bite this season.
Taiwanese slugger, Chang Tai-Shan will play for the Adelaide Bite this season. 

ADELAIDE Bite hopes the signing of a Taiwanese baseball "rock star" will fire this summer's championship challenge and generate a host of commercial spin-offs.

The SA franchise has completed the recruitment of veteran slugger Chang Tai-Shan as it bids to improve on last season's Australian Baseball League preliminary final exit.

Tai-Shan holds the Chinese Professional Baseball League all-time record for the most home runs (289) and hits (2134), and has won six international medals with his country since 1998.

Bite general manger Nathan Davison said the addition of the 40-year-old big hitter would provide a boost on and off the diamond.

"This guy is a rock star in Asia," Davison said.

"As you get older, one of the things you don't forget how to do is hit.

"If you watch the Major-league in the US, some of their sluggers on $20 million a year there are 38-40 years old.

"He'll bring a good presence at the plate and a bit of power from all reports.

"Hopefully he's also going to bring us a bit of on-field success."

Tai-Shan won gold at the 2006 Asian Games, silver at the 2003 Asian Championships and bronze at the 2001 World Cup, and helped Taiwan finish fifth at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Davison said the 2003 CPBL MVP's global profile had already opened commercial doors for the Bite.

"The opportunities that present themselves with his network of people that we'll be introduced to is probably equally as great as what he's going to bring on the field," Davison said.

"We've already had indications from a (Taiwanese) television station that wants to televise our games live.

"They love baseball and it's their national sport, but they've got nothing on in November, December and January.

"So with their guy down here playing, they've got an opportunity to get some content during their winter.

"They also want to expand into Australia in the non-alcoholic drink market ... and that could bring in some revenue as well.

"It's certainly going to be a fun, exciting experience having him (Tai-Shan) out here."

Davison will travel to Taipei next week to officially unveil Tai-Shan as a Bite player to the Taiwanese media.

He hoped the recruit, who played for Japan's Tokushima Indigo Socks last season, would spark increased interest among Adelaide's baseball-loving Asian communities.

"We planned on having some expansion and moving into these different markets, and this gives us some reality behind that," Davison said.

"It's a multicultural opportunity which is a great thing about our game."

The Bite opens its ABL campaign with a four-match series away to Sydney Blue Sox from November 16-19.

 

Story via The Advertiser & Journalist Rob Greenwood

This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.