Jeff Passan:

Big League Stew

Espionage! Chinese Taipei caught spying on World Baseball Classic rival Korea

Big League Stew

View gallery

.

(Getty Images, BLS Illustration)

Sounds like the World Baseball Classic is turning into a spy game. Chinese Taipei was caught sending spies — cleverly pretending to be umpire trainees — to glean information about their Korean foes.

Taiwan was forced to issue an apology Tuesday, after its spy try went awry. "Argo" this undercover mission was not. Korea figured things out rather quickly.

Once inside the umpires' room, the scouts began timing the delivery of the national team's pitchers, which drew the suspicions of [Korea Baseball Organization] officials.

"We had our suspicions because there seemed to be too many people in the umpires' room," one KBO official said. "They kept saying they were umpire trainees. But we later learned that they were really scouts and we ejected them from the stadium (in the fourth inning)."

A KBO official said the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL), the Taiwanese pro baseball governing body, apologized to the KBO via e-mail. The CPBL said the scouts had gone to the game "without obtaining approval" of the league and that there will be "proper punishment for their improper behavior," according to the KBO official.

View gallery

.

Chinese Taipei should send "I'm sorry" flowers to Korea. (Getty Images)

Meanwhile in America, our World Baseball Classic team can't get our best guys to play, let alone go all "Mission Impossible" in the name of national baseball pride. (Sidenote: Imagine Team USA recruiting Nick Swisher and Jayson Werth as a goofy spy duo and sending them around the world. Now there's a movie.)

Chinese Taipei and Korea are matched up in Pool B of the tournament and will play each other on March 5. If history is any indication, Korea should have the advantage (thus the spying). In the two previous World Baseball Classics, Korea beat Chinese Taipei 9-0 and 2-0.

At this point, Chinese Taipei's options were either spying or sending the whole team to Biogenesis for "training."

Spring training is here. Stretch out with us.
Follow @MikeOz and @bigleaguestew, on Twitter, along with the BLS Facebook page.

View Comments (25)