2012 was the most successful year in Herts Baseball Club’s history in every department on and off the field. It continues to be one of the largest baseball clubs in Great Britain in terms of size, infrastructure, financial performance and is now beginning to mount a serious challenge on the field at every league level with 4 out of the club’s 8 teams reaching the postseason in 2012.
To review 2012, we are publishing excerpts from the End of Year Report at the club’s Annual General Meeting.
The Club received a tremendous boost at the beginning of the year with the announcement that its grant application has been successful and it has been awarded £10,000 by BaseballSoftballUK (BSUK), the development agency for baseball and softball in the UK. The club added further £7,000 of funds raised by its members over the years to invest around £17,000 to install the perimeter fence around the two diamonds enclosing the venue completely and installing four dugouts, two for each diamond.
Grovehill Ballpark is currently the best baseball venue in the country attracting the biggest events in the British Baseball calendar, including this year’s National Championships which is the showpiece event of the year.
The club’s incredible concession stand team set a new record this year. Sales for the year were £3,770. The catering activities help raise funds which go not only towards ballpark development, but also help subsidize youth membership fees making Herts Baseball one of the most affordable sports clubs around for kids.
Astrid Centeno, Kirsten Caress, Susie Longboy and the rest of the concession stand team have worked tirelessly all year long and their efforts help not only with fundraising but very importantly they make the day at the ballpark even more enjoyable.
This year Mark Caress was appointed as the Club’s Shop Manager. In addition to the club’s online shop, Mark set up a relationship with suppliers to supply customised jackets and batting practice jerseys. These proved to be very popular. Mark also imported discounted high quality baseball products which are difficult to find in the UK. This generated sales of £1,621 for the year.
This year the club continued to stage the biggest and best events in British Baseball.
The Herts Spring League and the Herts Futures Tournament once again had record number of teams entering and both have proven to be very successful in raising funds which can be invested in the ballpark or other projects.
Other events included the BBF National Baseball Championships (event was staffed by the GB Team programme), the U17 and U14 Southern Playoffs and the U17 BBF Final, the NBL Special Event in July, and the Hunlock Series which saw a new format and received good reviews.
The merging of all online activities at the end of last year has proven to be a big success. This combined with the intensive activity on facebook and twitter has generated record traffic for the Herts Baseball website. Number of visits increased by 48%, unique visitors by 33%, and pageviews by 32%, while average visit duration has gone up by 7%.
Fig.1 – 2012 vs 2011 website visits
The top most read articles of 2012 were “NBL’s best pitcher joins Herts” and “Herts acquire catcher from Florida”. We cannot remember a player transaction in recent British baseball history which has attracted as much attention as the acquisition of Robbie Unsell. In third place was “2012 national champions to be decided this weekend in Herts”.
The club combined forces with BSUK to run 8 taster sessions in St Albans throughout the summer months. Dave Tretheway, Ryan Bird and Theo Scheepers were instrumental acting as coaches at these sessions. The club has now built a significant mailing list of people interested in playing softball and the task for the club now is to put a strong team to drive the project forward and take advantage of some real growth opportunities in the region.