NBL 2015 SCHEDULE
The BBF has published the 2015 NBL games schedule and the Herts Falcons will open their season at home on 12 April. Unlike previous seasons, three teams will be in action at Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead. Herts Falcons will get the season started at 10:30am against the South London Pirates. The Pirates will then play the Southampton Mustangs at 1pm. The third and final game of the day will be the Falcons versus the Mustangs at 3pm. Herts Spring League organisers are currently checking how this will affect the Herts Spring League plans. At the same time over at Farnham Park, the other three NBL teams, Essex Arrows, London Mets and Bracknell Blazers, will face each other in a similar triple-header.
NBL EXPANSION IN 2016
It has also been revealed that Brighton’s resurgent baseball programme has confirmed an intention to re-enter the NBL in 2016. We understand the BBF hopes to gradually build the number of teams in its pinnacle competition though improvement in teams at AAA level and the emergence of new teams and clubs. This certainly is positive news and hopefully the BBF can achieve a rapid expansion. As we mentioned in one of our recent articles, an NBL made up of between 12 or 16 teams would seem to be a reasonable target in the coming years if it is going to compete with growing leagues such as the German Bundesliga which currently has 15 teams in its top league tier.
The BBF announcement also reveals the launch of a new concept for British Baseball, the BBF Cup, the first officially-sanctioned Cup Tournament to be run in the modern era. The BBF Cup will involve games between teams from the National Baseball League (NBL) and the AAA South division, drawn at random as in football’s FA Cup. This should create some great match-ups between old foes as well as creating new rivalries. This implies that the Herts Eagles who will be playing in the Triple-A League this year could face NBL opponents along the way, including a potential Herts derby versus the Falcons.
Cup games will take place over three weekends during the season, with the Cup Final being played in September after the National Baseball Championships (NBCs). The opportunity for the Federation to launch the BBF Cup has come about because of a reduced number of teams this year in the NBL, leaving room in the schedule for more games. The BBF will make an announcement shortly on the scope of the BBF Cup in 2015, the dates involved, and how the competition will fit into the NBL and AAA South schedules. The BBF Board hopes that the Cup competition will add interest to the season and draw fans from different areas to watch games between teams that don’t normally get to play each other. The Board will look to expand the BBF Cup to the other AAA divisions next season.