Game-fixing followed a similar path, according to sources. A former teammate or a friend would introduce players to gangsters. This usually happened during a social outing where players were treated to drinks and, often, sexual favors. Once in contact with the gangsters, these players were soon asked to fix games, sometimes forcefully. Some gangsters were powerful enough where they could directly call into the clubhouse to check on their investment.
The league has tried to combat this criminal element by forcing players to attend anti-gambling seminars during spring training. Players are also made to sign consent forms that allow league officials to monitor their cell phones.
Yet that might still not be enough.
"People I've talked to still think it's probably going on in some form," said one American League team scout. "There hasn't been a high profile bust like when Tsao was indicted, but the gangster/mafia culture is so prominent in the country it's tough to root it out of baseball."
And that's why the CPBL believes Tsao's case has become so important.
In June 2010, shortly after he had been banned in Taiwan, Tsao worked out for several major league team scouts in the U.S. He did well enough in those tryouts to attract some interest.
But MLB was hesitant to approve any deal until a full investigation had been conducted. In order to fully vet Tsao, MLB deployed its investigative unit—the same group that had been put together to untangle PED use, and had also helped curb illegal activities in the signing of Latin American amateur players. After a lengthy investigation, Tsao, according to several sources, was cleared to sign with a major league team.