The newly unveiled Herts Londoners are preparing for their inaugural season in British baseball and they have announced that their player-manager will be Wade Lynch who Herts baseball fans are already familiar with after his debut season with the Herts Falcons last year.
Born in New Jersey and with a dual French-American nationality, Lynch has had extensive experience as a player and coach on both sides of the Atlantic. As a player in the United States he played at semi-pro level in the MSBL in four different states – New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida. He then went on to play in France for Paris University Club, Lions Savigny, Seaguls Cherbourg and later in Ireland with the Dublin Hurricanes and the Munster Warriors.
Last season he was part of the Herts Falcons team which shocked the NBL by eliminating the Southampton Mustangs and London Capitals in the Playoffs to reach the National Final and qualify for the European Federation Cup for the first time in the club’s history.
Wade Lynch on the mound for the Falcons in Game Two of the 2018 NBL National Final
He will now take on the challenge of leading a brand new team into the very competitive BBF Triple-A League. We located him in France this week and had a chance to chat briefly about the upcoming season.
Q: This is the first year of this brand new team in north-west London. What would be realistic goals for the team in 2019?
Lynch: The establishment of a Triple-A team is overdue. Our goal as a club this year is to fill the gap between the NBL team and the rest of the organisation. This means a few things. We want to be the first line of support for our NBL team as it applies to talent pool. Our Triple-A players should work on their individual and team skills with the goal of being called up to play with the NBL team. This will depend on their performance as well as roster availability and league rules. Secondly, players on the NBL team should embrace the opportunity to play Triple-A games. This will mean that they will be getting at bats and innings on the mound rather than dealing with the frustration of sitting on the bench in the NBL. Thirdly, the free flow of players between the teams will strengthen all the teams and the organisation as a whole. In light of the above, I expect the Herts Londoners to be an extension of the Herts Falcons and to be competitive this year.
Q: Beyond 2019, how do you see the team evolving in the coming years?
Lynch: I feel that in the next few years if not sooner, the Herts Londoners should be able to challenge for the Triple-A title if our players embrace the organisational strategy. If we have a large influx of players, we may be able to field two teams in the Triple-A League or quite possibly two NBL teams. Based on numbers, player quality and development, a second Double-A team would also make sense to work with the Triple-A team regarding player development. Players need to embrace the needs of the organisation regarding player movement for this to work. It’s the key to operating a strong, professional baseball club for years to come.
Q: What effect do you think the MLB London Series will have on the Herts Londoners and the BBF Leagues as a whole? Are the Herts managers expecting a major influx of new players after the Red Sox vs Yankees game in June? We understand the club has allowed room in the five team rosters for this eventuality.
Lynch: The Red Sox-Yankees series is an opportunity to introduce new British players to the game. This is clear. We need to be prepared to support these players whose playing skills will certainly be diverse. The club is in a great position to capitalise on this with teams in all four league tiers of the BBF. If the MLB London Series gains momentum, it may not be the last time we see games in the UK so the cycle can be repeated. I think once the Red Sox and Yankees leave, the real work begins regarding a community outreach PR campaign. The future looks bright for Herts!
Note: Adult and youth players, from beginners to advanced players, are now registering for the 2019 baseball season. For more details about how to join any of the Herts adult and youth baseball and softball teams in Hemel Hempstead and in NW London or to try baseball at an upcoming open session, contact Herts Baseball Club.