Fans of Major League Baseball suffer over the long winter season but with Spring just around the corner everyone is getting an uplifting feeling that the start of the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues will signal the return of baseball. British Baseball is no different and over the last three years teams in Southern England have had their very own Grapefruit League to look forward to.
Organised by Herts Baseball Club, the Herts Spring League (HSL) adds a competitive edge to Spring training. The HSL is the time for managers to work out their winning formula going into the BBF league season. It is an opportunity to evaluate existing and newly recruited players. Which players will earn a spot in the pitching rotation and who will be batting where in the batting order? Who will make the first team and who will have to work their way up with the minor league teams? Not forgetting scouting your opponents. These are just some of the questions which will have to be answered during the upcoming HSL.
This is the third year of the competition and it is expected to be the best yet. In the first year of the HSL in 2008 ten teams took part. In 2009 due to overwhelming demand, the league had to expand. 13 teams played 21 games over three weekends at three different venues – Grovehill Ballpark in Herts, Ham Ground in Richmond and the £100,000 purpose-built baseball facility in Harlow. In fact demand was so high that two other teams had to be turned away as there simply were not enough fields to stage all the games.
The 2010 HSL will be played over three weekends commencing on Saturday, 27 March and ending on Sunday, 11 April. Teams will be placed in two divisions, HSL Majors and HSL Minors, based on the teams’ ranking going into the new season. HSL Majors is expected to include BBF teams from the National and AAA Leagues, while HSL Minors is expected to include BBF teams from AA and Single-A.
Last year the HSL Champions were the Bracknell Blazers and they went on to become the 2009 British National Baseball League Champions, so the more superstitious teams in the league will have an extra incentive to win the HSL this time around.
DEADLINE FOR ENTRIES TO THE HSL: Monday 15 February 2010.
Teams are currently submitting their entries for this year’s Herts Spring League. For more details on how to enter and a copy of the 2010 HSL Pack contact Herts Baseball Club.