Temperatures may be low but the baseball diamonds at Grovehill Ballpark are in good shape so the Herts Spring League games scheduled this Easter holiday weekend will go ahead as planned.
These will be the first pre-season baseball games of 2013 for these teams and there are some intriguing matchups to look forward to. The Essex Redbacks are the newest member of the National Baseball League making their NBL debut this year and this Saturday is the first opportunity to see how their roster is shaping up. They will face the London Mets who are expected to be a major title-contender this season.
The 2012 NBL champions, Harlow Nationals, will face NBL runners-up Herts Falcons in a repeat of the 2012 final. We understand that there has been a player transaction involving the Harlow Nationals which has just come to light. Right-handed starting pitcher and former GB Team player, Matt Gilbert, appears to have moved to the Nationals from the Essex Arrows. This has not been confirmed by the teams involved. We may be able to get a confirmation this weekend as the Essex Arrows are also in action against the surging Cambridge Royals who appear to have a lot of momentum at the moment. Could they follow in the footsteps of the Essex Arrows and be added to the NBL in the coming years? They currently do not have a youth programme which can compare to the Redbacks but they certainly have shown that they can compete against the toughest teams in this country.
Kent Mariners, London Marauders, London Mammoths and four other Herts teams are also on show this weekend.
Over the years the HSL has shown that many players are missing during the HSL games on Easter weekend so we may not get a full picture of the strength of these teams ahead of Opening Day, but we will certainly be able to see some of the high-profile signings made over the winter.