The final baseball games of 2013 will be played this Sunday as the Hunlock Series reach their climax. While activities on the field slow down after this weekend, off the field winter is an exciting period for British baseball. This is the time when the British Baseball Federation (BBF) and the member clubs hold their annual general meetings and carry out the planning and preparatory work which will shape the British baseball leagues in 2014 and beyond.
The BBF recently announced that its AGM will be held on 9 November 2014 in Leicester. As part of that process member clubs have the opportunity to nominate candidates for BBF Board positions, candidates for Life Members, propose constitutional amendments and submit motions to the AGM.
We have received a copy of the motions submitted by Herts Baseball Club and they are listed below.
MOTION 1: Add Under-11 division to the BBF postseason and National Baseball Championships.
MOTION 1 BACKGROUND: The number of teams in this age group is growing (6 U11 teams entered the Herts Futures Tournament in 2013) and it can be promoted further by adding it to the BBF postseason and NBCs in the same way as the U17 and U14 age groups. This would also help increase attendance at the NBCs.
MOTION 2: Change regular season game format in the Single-A League, from single 9-inning games to doubleheaders (two 5-inning games with 10-run mercy-rule after 4 innings). Any one pitcher cannot pitch more than 7 innings over the two games of the doubleheader.
MOTION 2 BACKGROUND: With many beginners playing at Single-A League level, adopting this format could help teams (i) develop more pitchers (ii) give managers more flexibility to give game time to bench players while maintaining competitiveness (iii) with no independent umpires at this level, a player can umpire one game and still play in the second.
MOTION 3: From the start of the 2015 season all clubs with an NBL team must have at least one active youth team. Their NBL team will be demoted to the next league tier if they fail to meet this requirement.
MOTION 3 BACKGROUND: All of the country’s leading clubs must have a youth programme in order to (i) become more stable organisations (ii) grow their membership and fan base (iii) improve their financial position (iv) develop and feed more players into the youth leagues, senior leagues and the GB national teams (v) promote and grow the sport in their region. Once they realize the incredible benefits of adding a youth programme, clubs will be grateful that the BBF prompted them to make this step.
MOTION 4: From the start of the 2016 season all clubs with a AAA-League team(s) must have at least one active youth team. Their AAA team(s) will be demoted to the next league tier if they fail to meet this requirement.
MOTION 4 BACKGROUND: See supporting information for Motion 3.
MOTION 5: All disciplinary actions (fines, suspensions etc) and player transactions (transfers) to be published on the BBF website.
MOTION 5 BACKGROUND: The objective is to increase transparency, make disciplinary actions more effective which would also help protect umpires. Publishing this information would also provide more talking points and can enhance the media coverage of British Baseball.
MOTION 6: The existing special relaxation of the balk rule for U17 games to apply to U17 regular season games only. This special relaxation of the balk rule shall not apply in the U17 League postseason, when the standard balk rule as per MLB rulebook shall be in force.
MOTION 6 BACKGROUND: The relaxation of the balk rule has some benefits during the regular season as new/younger pitchers are introduced to the rules of U17 league baseball for the first time. However, by the time we reach the postseason, pitchers would have had sufficient time to learn and comply with the balk rule as applied by MLB.
We would be interested to hear the views of Herts fans, as well as other baseball fans, on the motions submitted by Herts Baseball Club. You can post your comments on the Herts Facebook Page.