Following Herts Baseball Club's announcements on 9 November 2008, the news of the Herts Falcons joining the National League has received a large amount of media coverage. Yesterday, the Herts Baseball Newswire posted an article from Bruce Dullea who is in a very unique position to assess this month's developments. Today, we offer an article published on BaseballGB.co.uk, which is well known for its intelligent analysis of the game from a British perspective.
SOUTHERN TOP-TIER BASEBALL TO EXPAND FOR ONLY THE SECOND TIME SINCE THE 1999 SEASON
November 10th, 2008 by Joe Gray
In 1999 there were nine teams in the southern bracket of the National Baseball League (NBL), but since then the yearly progression has gone eight, six, five, five, six, five, four, four, and four (in 2008). So there has been a drop five times (including a two-team drop between 2000 and 2001) and an increase only once.
The 2009 season should see a second increase, though, according to an article on the Herts Baseball Club website, which states that the club’s first team (the Falcons) will compete in the NBL South from next year. Of course, if the Mets were to not defend their title or if the Blazers, the Flames, or the Pirates were to not field a team in the top tier next season then we would not see a growth, but there were no forfeits in 2008, which is a good sign that the four teams are healthy at present.
While the growth of Herts Baseball Club can be celebrated by baseball enthusiasts up and down the country, it is not necessarily indicative of a reversal in the “shrinking south” trend. The progression of Herts Baseball Club has resulted more from an immeasurable amount of work from several members of the club than from national or local measures to grow the game.
Alongside the “shrinking south” trend sits a “narrowing north” pattern. Only two NBL North teams were able to complete the 2008 schedule, after the Liverpool Trojans pulled out mid-season. With the result that automatic berths in the Final Fours were available for the two remaining teams (Manchester and Menwith Hill), it could be argued that they were only involved in meaningful competition in 2008 for one game (both teams were eliminated at the semi-final stage). Clearly, then, a similar piece of news form the north, or at least a confirmation of Liverpool’s continuation in the top tier, would be very welcome.
In other Herts baseball news, the petition to support planned grounds improvements, highlighted on BaseballGB, was clearly a success as the club has secured planning permission for the work.
The publication of this article sparked a heated discussion among readers of BaseballGB.co.uk To view the comments which were posted click the following link: