A look back at the newspapers over the last few weeks may lead us to the conclusion that the people of Britain are concerned with nothing other than snow and how the newly-elected American President is going to save us all from the worst economic crisis in 100 years, while at the same time football clubs have been breaking transfer records with hundreds of millions of pounds spent on players.
But in Hertfordshire and North West London a whole community has been thinking of nothing but baseball with the launch of a campaign for the promotion of the game in the region.
Herts Baseball Club is preparing for one of its most important seasons in its history. After the Herts Falcons won the AAA National Championship last year, the British Baseball Federation invited them to join the top tier of British Baseball – the National Baseball League. Jason Greenberg, the Manager who led the Falcons to the title said: “This is the first time that a team from Hertfordshire will play at the highest level of British baseball. The Club has also announced plans to create a fourth adult team, the Herts Eagles, which is expected to join the League at the AAA level. This would mean that Herts Baseball Club would be the only baseball organisation in Great Britain to have a team at every level of British Baseball.”
Greenberg added: “Whatever your baseball abilities, anyone from absolute beginners to elite players, would be able to find a Herts baseball team to fit with their level. Those who work hard to improve will be able to progress up the Herts pyramid all the way to National League level.”
The Herts players have just returned to the baseball diamond after intense indoor sessions in the last few weeks. This coincides with the launch of the Club’s 2009 recruitment campaign. The campaign aims to make men and women, boys and girls, of any age, aware of one of the most popular sports in the world. Not many Brits know that baseball is played by millions across the globe and that the game of baseball is alive and well right here in the British Isles, and is growing fast.
Over the years, Hollywood movies have given the British public a sense of the significance of baseball and why it generates so much passion. Club President, Aspi Dimitrov said: “For one reason or another, the opportunity to play baseball in this country has never been marketed well. We are hoping to change this in our region with our campaign. Our club is looking to recreate the Major League Baseball (MLB) experience for all its members – the competition for places in pre-season Spring Training; hitting a home run like Barry Bonds; looking to have a better batting average than Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees; striking out a batter with a nasty curveball, turning a double-play, coming up to bat with two outs in the bottom of the ninth – these are just some of the aspects which our players get to experience in the course of the British baseball season. We want more people to experience this. In the first of a series of promotional videos which can be seen on our website, we have tried to put exactly this point across”
As part of the Campaign, on Sunday 1 March 2009, the Club is staging Open Trials for anyone who wants to get a taste of baseball. The Try Outs are aimed at both newcomers and players who are hoping to make the Herts Falcons roster in their first season in the British National Baseball League. They will all go through a series of skills trials which will test their batting, fielding, pitching and running abilities. Since any adult can join the Herts Baseball Club, and all members get playing time on the diamond each weekend, the day is not about 'making the cut'… but, rather, welcoming new members to the Herts family and helping the four team managers fashion their squads (or 'Camps') for the rest of the Spring Training.
Dimitrov is certain that among the newcomers there will be players who unknowingly possess phenomenal baseball talent. He said: “We are hoping that we will discover a Roy Hobbs (from the Oscar-nominated movie, The Natural, starring Robert Redford), someone who can hit a home run or maybe a flame-throwing pitcher. The Managers will have a radar gun ready and hopefully someone will be able to get into 80mph or, who knows, maybe even 90mph. We may just find that player who helps one of our four teams bring home the Championship trophy.”
In the afternoon, Falcons Manager, Jason Greenberg, will send his Spring Training Camp out for an exhibition game against the Great Britain Juniors National Team. Apart from existing Herts players the Falcons NBL Camp will include a selection of invitees who impress during the morning tests.
Those who are interested to attend should register online at: http://www.hertsbaseball.com/trials/
Any questions about the day's events can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you can’t wait until 1 March, you can join the Herts players in their upcoming Spring Training sessions. All of these sessions and the Open Day on 1 March are open for anyone to attend and there are no costs involved. Newcomers who don’t have a baseball glove will be provided with one.
· BULLPEN SESSION, Sat – 14 Feb 2009 – 11:45 , Grovehill Ballpark, Hemel Hempstead
· HEADSTART CLINIC, Sun – 15 Feb 2009 – 11:15 , Grovehill Ballpark, Hemel Hempstead
· SPRING TRAINING, Sun – 15 Feb 2009 – 12:45 , Grovehill Ballpark, Hemel Hempstead
· BULLPEN SESSION, Sat – 21 Feb 2009 – 12:45 , Grovehill Ballpark, Hemel Hempstead
· SPRING TRAINING, Sun – 22 Feb 2009 – 10:45 , Grovehill Ballpark, Hemel Hempstead
· OPEN HERTS TRIALS, Sun – 01 Mar 2009 – 09:45 , Grovehill Ballpark, Hemel Hempstead
· TEAM TRAINING (SPLIT-SQUAD), Sun – 08 Mar 2009 – 09:45 , Grovehill Ballpark, Hemel Hempstead
· TEAM TRAINING (SPLIT-SQUAD), Sun – 15 Mar 2009 – 09:45, Grovehill Ballpark, Hemel Hempstead
Note: These events are for adults (14 years old and above). For boys and girls under 14 the Club will soon be publishing details of the 2009 Herts Little League season. If you are under 14 years of age please contact the club for more details about the Herts Little League.