Category: Club News

Herts publishes AGM details

Herts publishes AGM details

AGM NOTICE

In accordance with the Club’s Constitution, this is a notice of the upcoming 24th Annual General Meeting of Herts Baseball Club.  The AGM will take place as follows:
 
DATE
Sunday, 31 January 2021

TIME
10:30am (meeting room opens at 10:15am, AGM expected to end at around 2:30pm)

VENUE
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, this year’s AGM will be held online via Zoom. Club members will receive an email with details how to join the Zoom call.

JUNIOR MEMBERS
Under the Club’s Constitution, members under the age of 14 on 31 December 2020 are classified as Junior Members and do not have voting rights at General Meetings. Regardless of this, if you are under the age of 14, you and your parents are very much invited to attend the AGM, especially as so many of the parents of our youth members are involved as players, coaches, volunteers and members of staff.
 
POTENTIAL NEW MEMBERS
Although only 2020 paying club members have the right to vote at this AGM, the meeting is very much open to potential new members who are considering joining the club or who have already registered for 2021 as club members.  This is a good opportunity for new players, volunteers and members of staff to learn more about the club and meet its members.  If you fall into this category and wish to attend the AGM, please contact the club.
 
OBSERVERS
The meeting is also open to observers who are not members of the Club. If you fall into this category and wish to attend the AGM please contact the club.
 
AGM PACK
Ahead of the meeting, the AGM Information Pack will be sent out to 2020 members. It will include information such as the AGM agenda, 2020 report, financial statements, election details and more. 
 
2021 ELECTION OF BOARD MEMBERS
In accordance with the Constitution, a number of Board positions will be up for election at the upcoming AGM either as part of the annual retirement of a third of the Board positions or because they are vacant.
 
The club is now inviting nominations for the following Board positions:  
BOARD POSITIONS (appointment duration in brackets)

  • Club Secretary (term ends 31st December 2022)
  • Communications Director (term ends 31st December 2023)
  • Shop Manager1 (term ends 31st December 2021)
  • IT Director (term ends 31st December 2023)
  • Facilities Manager – Basing Hill (term ends 31st December 2023)
  • Manager Single-A or Double-A2 – Hemel Hempstead (term ends 31st December 2023)
  • Manager Single-A or Double-A2 – NW London (term ends 31st December 2022)
  • Director of Youth Baseball (term ends 31st December 2023)
  • Head of U15 Baseball – Hemel Hempstead (term ends 31st December 2021)
  • Head of U13 Baseball – Hemel Hempstead (term ends 31st December 2023)
  • Head of U11 Baseball – Hemel Hempstead (term ends 31st December 2022)
  • Head of U15 Baseball – NW London (term ends 31st December 2021)
  • Head of U13 Baseball – NW London (term ends 31st December 2021)
  • Head of U11 Baseball – NW London (term ends 31st December 2023)
  • Head of Softball (term ends 31st December 2023)

Notes:

1 Current Shop Manager, Mark Caress, is happy to continue in his role, but also happy to make way if a new candidate wishes to put themselves forward.

2 The leagues which our teams will enter in 2021 will not be known until after the AGM. The Club may also decide to add or remove teams from the BBF leagues depending on the number of players registering for 2021. If the club enters fewer teams than expected, one or more of these board positions may be removed after the AGM.
 
Current Board members are eligible to stand for re-election. All members are invited to consider any of the Board positions and put their names forward for one or several of them. 
 
Being a Board Member is an excellent opportunity to be involved in shaping the future of Herts Baseball Club. If you are considering applying for any of the positions, but are unsure about it, you can get in touch with current or past Board members who can give you more information about what the role involves and what to expect if elected. If you require more information about any of the above Board positions please contact the club.
 
HOW TO CONFIRM YOUR CANDIDACY
If you decide to run for any of these Board positions please confirm your candidacy by posting a message in the Herts Baseball Online Forum (Click here to view). If you have difficulties accessing the forum with your username and password please contact the club.
 
NOMINATION PROCESS
Nominations require two votes – nomination and second.  Nominations of Board members can be received at any time, including during the AGM. Nominations can only be accepted from persons eligible to vote at the AGM. If you are concerned about the nomination process, members of the current Board would be happy to consider supporting your nomination and giving you the necessary two votes to be able to stand for election, so feel free to get in touch with current Board members. To nominate or to second a candidate, post in the Herts Baseball online Forum.
 
BOARD AND STAFF MEMBER REBATE
Ahead of the Board elections, a reminder that, in consideration of the time and effort which Board members give in performing their Board roles and which effectively means that they are unable to enjoy the full benefit of their membership, they will be entitled to a membership fee rebate. The Board reviews the rebate system from time to time. Here is an example of how it is likely to be applied during the 2021 season:

  •  members of the Board are expected to be entitled to a rebate of around 50% or more of the respective membership fee payable by them during the year. 
  • if one Board role is held by two or more individuals, such individuals can share the rebate between them as the burden of performing the role is shared between them.

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS
In accordance with article 14.3 of the Club’s Constitution “Additions to, or alterations of the constitution shall be submitted to the Secretary not less than 10 (ten) days before the date of the meeting. No resolution involving an amendment to the constitution may be proposed or amended from the floor of a meeting.” If any members wish to propose a constitutional amendment please send it by contacting the club by 23:59 on 21 January 2021, at the latest. You can find a copy of the Constitution on the club’s website (click to view).

Baseball is the winner in a time of Covid

Baseball is the winner in a time of Covid

Four teams. Six weeks of games. One winner. And, perhaps fittingly, the name on the trophy after the first ever Herts Baseball Development League is the Raptors.

The League was the creation of the Raptors’ manager Mantas Poderys, when baseball received clearance to restart games after the coronavirus lockdown. The aim was to give the swelling ranks of rookie and inexperienced Herts players a taste of competition without the pressure of a formal BBF league.

Raptors B facing Londoners

Mantas split his roster in two – sharing out specialists such as pitchers and catchers – and teams from the London branch of the club enthusiastically came on board to join the league. So a schedule was created in which Raptors A and B would face the Eagles and Londoners in a round robin, then a medal series.

A series of new safety measures was drawn up and adopted, and everyone was ready to go.

The opening weekend of games in August was under baking sun at Grovehill. Raptors A got out to the best start with 2 wins. New recruits got their first taste of game action, and stars started to emerge. Cory English of the Londoners showed his slick skills, and Raptor rookie Declan Carlean made a great play from deep in the hole at shortstop.

After a rained out week, games resumed with Raptors B now taking strides forward. Ken Pike, a former manager and a champion at Single-A as a player, was one of the club veterans who returned for the HBDL. He was leading the Blues with typical gusto.

For the Londoners, Andrew Slater was the old hand with the magic, returning to the pitching mound with great results. He ended with several wins to his name.

Although there were a lot of laughs in these games, as friends got the chance to compete against each other in a relaxed setting, there was plenty of intensity too.

New Londoners recruit Kevin Abioye took a knee to the jaw as he desperately tried to reach first base on an infield hit, while Raptor B’s Laurence Currington took a tumble as he raced into the collision to help save the game for his team. (Everyone was fine afterwards, with maybe a bruise or two).

Collision! (Photo by Tony Small)

These games were also packed with dramatic walk-offs. In the third round of games, Londoners secured an 8-7 win over Raptors B when a run-down between third and home went awry and what looked like a terrible base-running decision turned into a victory moment.

The best of five championship series was between the Raptors B and the Londoners, as they finished in the top two slots of the League. The Eagles and Raptors A would play a best of three to decide the bronze medal.

The Blues took a 2-0 lead in the first week of playoffs, with the Eagles starting with a win. All to play for on the final Sunday.

Wily veteran pitcher Greg Bochan led the Londoners to a win in the first game on the last day, keeping the series alive. In Game Four, the Londoners took a 6-4 lead into the final frame. Great fielding plays from Matt Jackson and Rob Gibson had helped keep the Blues in check. The Londoners tacked on 3 more runs – surely the game was safe?

But Raptors B had other ideas. Manager Ken Pike had pitched the game, and delivered with the bat too. Once on base, he represented the winning run. In a match up of veteran pitcher (Nic Goetz) and rookie hitter (Pedro Martins) the youngster came through. He drove in Pike for a 10-9 win and plenty of celebrations.

Eagles v Londoners in August (pic: Tony Small)

In game 2 of the bronze medal series, the Eagles took a lead into the final stages. But again there was a dramatic Raptor rally. Raptors A scored a clutch of runs to tie it up.

And again, the final act was old hand against young star. Declan Carlean on the mound, Rob Jones at bat. This one was won by the veteran, with a hit to centre field clinching the 2-0 series win.

The idea of keeping the tournament in-house had been to keep the players as safe as possible at a time when travelling and mixing were both officially discouraged – but also to give the best chance for fun and competitive baseball. It succeeded on both counts.

Mantas Poderys said he was focused not on the victories for his players, but on their spirit and their development – and that, on that basis, all games were wins. They responded with equal warmth, praising his hard work, support and the welcome he gave players, some of whom had not even played organised sport, let alone baseball.

Mantas Poderys in action

While this League was going on, other elements of Herts were also staying active. The Falcons of the NBL held regular practices and scrimmage games, and also traveled to the Kent Buccaneers for a game which they won.

Youth training sessions resumed at Grovehill in July and continued throughout the summer. Coaches Lee and Colin kept as many age groups as possible active, and open sessions also received a great response when they began at Basing Hill in northwest London in August.

Some of the Herts youth players have been taking part in a Fall League organised by LYBL on the diamonds at Farnham Park, so their season looks to stretch into October. The club now turns its attentions to the winter and to preparing for what 2021 might bring.

The Raptors, meanwhile, polish their trophy!

Thanks to all who took part and helped the club through all aspects of a most extraordinary year. Coaches, officials, parents, fans and players all had a huge role to play. Herts is a family and we stay committed to each other, and to baseball.

The victorious Raptors B

All time greatest Herts starting lineup

All time greatest Herts starting lineup

Over the last few weeks Herts fans as well as those from the wider baseball community have been casting their votes to determine the all time greatest Herts starting lineup from players that have worn the Herts jersey since the club was founded 24 years ago.

When the club invited fans to nominate players for the nine fielding positions plus designated hitter, the intention was to have four nominees for each position, however the panel of experts struggled to narrow the list down to four per position and, instead of removing players, ended up expanding the shortlist. This forced the club to change the format and added a playoff semi-final round.

(click image to expand it)

There were some titanic clashes and some big names were eliminated including Darrin Ward, Mike Osborn and Jim Denison, among others. Round after round, fans were given a taste of just how difficult it is to be in the managerial hot seat and make these decisions.

Unlike the semi-final, each position was voted one after the other in the finals.  Some players made it to the final of more than one position and, if they accumulated the most votes for one position, they were removed from the final of any other positions. This meant that some big names that just missed out on the final re-entered the race, including Geoff Hare which set up a father-versus-son clash in the shortstop final. It also meant that we were not able to see the outcome of a head-to-head between Xavi Gonzalez and Robbie Unsell at shortstop.

Everyone who cast their vote applied their own criteria about who should be selected. Some may have put more weight on a player’s length of service and contribution to the club. Others simply went for what they thought would be the strongest team that could be fielded in a game 7 of a championship series.

When all the polls closed, the end result was a formidable starting lineup featuring national team players, and players decorated with multiple National Baseball League Most Valuable Player and Gold Glove Awards over the years.

(click image to expand it)

So, did the fans select ‘The Greatest” lineup from the hundreds of players they could cherry-pick and, if they did, does this mean that in the future we may as well dispense with team managers and simply run a poll to make managerial decisions?

We didn’t want to put current and former Herts managers on the spot but we are sure that they may disagree with some of the choices made by the fans and the batting order which was formulated without applying any scientific methodology.

There were some notable players such as Abelardo Salas, Dan Kerry, Darrin Ward, Gary Davison, Edwin Alcantara, Luis Goncalves, Matt Gilbert, Nic Goetz, Phil Clark, Roberto Almanzar and Ryan Hackel all of whom have received NBL awards over the years but who didn’t make the starting lineup and, surely, there must be a place in the batting lineup for Ryan Bird who leads the NBL in career batting (.508), on-base (.578) and slugging (.822) average in the British baseball modern era. Thankfully, in real life the team roster can include a lot more than the nine starting players.

Herts Baseball Club was founded in 1996 and is still in search of its first NBL championship title, but this lineup would certainly fancy its chances against any NBL champions over the previous 129 years of top-tier baseball in this country.

Herts confirms outcome of disciplinary proceedings.

Herts confirms outcome of disciplinary proceedings.

Herts Baseball Club has confirmed that, in accordance with its constitution and club regulations, it investigated complaints related to conduct during the Herts Falcons’ European Federations Cup games played in 2019. A disciplinary panel considered the evidence and imposed a 4-game ban and termination of club membership of Herts Falcons player, Miguel Sarmiento, for misconduct and for bringing the club into disrepute.  The 4-game ban was served in full during the European Federations Cup campaign last year. The termination of club membership is in accordance with article 12.1 of the club’s constitution.

The club confirmed that the appeal deadline has now passed and Sarmiento has not appealed the decision.

We understand that this is the first time in its 24-year history that the club has had to terminnate the membership of a club member.

2020 Herts Youth Baseball: Registration is Open

Herts baseball club has planned a range of options for 2020 for one of our great strengths, and our most important investment in the future — our youth players. The aim is to give plenty of chances for both training and game time for kids from ages 6 to 18.

We don’t yet know if the coronavirus outbreak is going to have a long-term impact, and affect the summer baseball season. If it does, Herts will lower all its youth fees accordingly. No money will be taken until the situation is clearer. But at this early stage, we are going ahead with registration so that everything is ready when baseball can be resumed.

We appreciate everybody’s patience, and we hope that we can all get back where we want to be — on the diamond — very soon. Those of you already on our mailing list should receive details via e-mail of how to register. If you are new to the club and the sport, please contact us through our website link and we will tell you all you need to know.

Since the Herts youth operation began over a decade ago it has seen success at the National Baseball Championships in several age groups. And, even more importantly, it has seen a steady stream of local boys and girls getting involved in a new sport, and making new friends.

In 2020, the core Herts Youth membership package will be a training programme, running throughout the year. Players aged between 6 and 18 will be able to work on all the fundamental skills of baseball, under the guidance of our new Head Coach, Colin Barrett. He has vast experience, most recently as the South Africa Under-12 head coach.

There will be a total of 18 sessions, including Saturday work both indoors and outdoors. And that also includes 10 midweek training sessions. These are most likely to be on Wednesdays, but our staff are currently pinning down a final confirmation. Each of those sessions will be at least 2 hours long.

Coach Colin has already been enjoying getting involved with the kids on fielding drills, on learning to throw the ball correctly, and on how to play the game. Players have enjoyed the experience of Baseball 5, a fast-moving game which helps put knowledge into practice.

Herts will then offer two separate options for games, with players able to make a choice depending on their goals and their circumstances.

One option is to play for the East of England team, competing in the British Baseball Federation (BBF) All Star leagues. This is a great chance to maximise playing time, and take on other teams from around our region.

East of England at the UKLLQ in 2019

In this programme, for players aged 8 to 18, kids from Herts will play alongside team-mates from Leicester, Cambridge, Lakenheath, Northampton and Essex Redbacks — and together they will face teams from other southern clubs including Guildford and Brighton.

Games will take place on Saturdays, both at our home field of Grovehill in Hemel Hempstead and also travelling to away games.

Kids who sign up for this game package will be automatically included in the extended roster for the Youth National Baseball Championships at Farnham Park in September; and for the UK Little League Qualifiers — a competition which culminates in a tournament in Williamsport, USA.

The final teams for these tournaments will be only 13 players, chosen by the coaches. But all who sign up will get an equal chance to compete for a place, and our emphasis remains on enjoying the sport, and learning.

Herts manages the East of England (EoE) programme with other clubs. Our lead on it will be Youth Commissioner, Lee Manning.

The alternative game package is Play Ball membership, which is intended as a recreational programme for more casual players aged 6 to 12. This team will not travel, so is a great opportunity for any players unable to make the trips to away games.

There will be a minimum of 10 event days in the season, running from April to July. The entire schedule will be announced at the start of the season, to help families to plan.

The sessions are on Saturdays at Grovehill, starting at 11am and lasting between 90 minutes and 2 hours. Players will work on a specific baseball skill for a time, and will then play games.

The Play Ball programme will be headed up by John Kjorstad, a club veteran who has been involved with the youth teams for several years.

The idea is that all Herts youth players join the core training programme, and then choose one game package. We aim to provide at least one game jersey for players, or a voucher to be used for a Herts cap for the Play Ball section, but due to the lead time on orders, we will need to finalise this once we know when the 2020 season will start.

Players cannot sign up for both game packages, chiefly because they can’t be in two places at once on any given Saturday! However, those who sign up for the East of England will be able to participate in Play Ball at no extra charge, if they have a weekend off from EoE games.

Herts baseball club is excited to be able to offer this range of programmes to help make it easier to play baseball in 2020, whatever your availability and ability. Our aim is to spread the word about the sport and offer the boys and girls who join us an enjoyable and rewarding time.

Guidance related to Corona Virus Covid-19 during the HSL

Herts Baseball Club has issued the following guidance for players, team officials, umpires and spectators who will be visiting Grovehill Ballpark over the three weeks of the 2020 Herts Spring League.

In the light of the current advice from the government and NHS about Corona Virus:

  • Anyone who has recently visited specific badly affected areas — such as Hubei province in China, or northern Italy — should not take part in the HSL.
  • Anyone who has recently visited affected countries, including South Korea and Japan, and has symptoms of possible Covid-19, should not take part in the HSL.
  • Anyone who has, or has recently had, flu-like symptoms should not take part in the HSL and should follow NHS advice.
  • Herts Baseball Club is currently making every effort to acquire hand sanitiser and disinfectant products. There is a nationwide shortage of these products. If we manage to acquire them, we will provide soap, paper towels, and hand sanitiser in the toilet facilities at Grovehill ballpark. We will not issue supplies to individual teams, so please feel free to bring whatever you need.
  • Herts baseball club will provide rubbish bags in each dugout – please use these to dispose of used tissues and all other waste.
  • Subject to availability, shared facilities such as benches will be cleaned with disinfectant wipes before each day’s events, but it will not be practical to repeat the process between each game.
  • Herts baseball club will not be organising the traditional handshakes and exchanges before and after games. However, we understand if any teams or players wish to make local agreement among themselves to do this.  Please make your wishes known and notify the plate umpire where necessary.

Herts Baseball Club will continue to monitor all guidance offered by the NHS, and will update this advice where necessary.

Herts adds two more board members

Herts Baseball Club’s executive board has expanded with the addition of two more members.

Colin Barrett has been appointed as Head Youth Coach, an area where he has extensive experience as the Head Coach of the South African Under-12 National Team. He also managed the South Africa Men’s Softball National Team at the 2004 World Championships in New Zealand.

The second addition is Erica Barrett who has been appointed as Club Secretary. She also brings a wealth of experience having been involved for many years in baseball and softball in South Africa.

Erica has also expressed interest in getting involved in the club’s softball programme, which is currently placed on hold while it searches to fill the vacant coaching position. Anyone interested in joining the Herts softball programme in a playing, coaching or other capacity can contact the club for more details.

The Barrett family has only just arrived to the UK, but Colin, Erica and their children are already giving a boost to the club as it prepares for the start of the 2020 season.

New Herts Baseball online shop now open

Herts Baseball Club has appointed the Baseball Outlet to operate the club’s official online shop. It was unveiled earlier today and members and fans of the club can now do their shopping around the clock.

In addition to the range of Herts merchandise, players can also buy gloves, baseball pants, belts and other apparel and baseball equipment.

The range of Herts Baseball merchandise will grow in the coming months.

SHOP NOW

Opened by Joe Black in 2017, Baseball Outlet is a specialist supplier of sports equipment and clothing based in Merseyside where they operate retail premises, in-house garment decoration and a warehouse. Baseball Outlet works with top brands including Wilson, Louisville Slugger, Rawlings, Nike, Evoshield, DeMarini, adidas and Easton. Baseball Outlet is part of the EP Sports brand, also owned by Joe, which counts 12 years’ experience working with top brands and is now the largest American Football store in Europe.

£8,000 ballpark investment announced at Herts Baseball Club’s AGM supported by a £3,000 Dacorum grant

 

At its Annual General Meeting on Sunday, 5 January 2020, Herts Baseball Club announced that it has been awarded a £3,000 grant by Dacorum Borough Council. The club will add £5,000 of its own funds which it has raised over the years and the total amount of around £8,000 will be invested into repairing and upgrading the perimeter, backstop, outfield and dugout fencing at Grovehill Ballpark which has suffered from vandalism in recent years.

After a year when the club recorded a 54.7% growth in the number of its players coinciding with the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees coming to play MLB league games in London, this investment in Grovehill Ballpark is expected to increase participation, wellbeing and enjoyment of the hundreds of baseball players and fans who are using the venue.

Dacorum Borough Council’s Community Grant scheme was set up to support community, voluntary, arts and sporting projects which meet the Council’s vision to create a borough which enables its communities to thrive and prosper. 2020 is Hertfordshire Year of Culture and, in support of this, the Council was particularly interested in receiving applications for projects that have a cultural theme.

Herts Baseball Club has been based at the baseball venue in Grovehill, Hemel Hempstead, since 1996. Up until 2009 the venue had only one baseball diamond. In 2009 the club raised funds and built a second baseball diamond to satisfy demand from the growing number of youth and adult baseball and softball players which were joining the club every year. In 2012 additional funds were raised from BaseballSoftballUK to upgrade the venue by adding home and away team dugouts on each of the two diamonds and perimeter fencing to make the facility fully enclosed in line with baseball requirements.

NBL Postseason Playoff game at Grovehill Ballpark in 2013

In recent years the facility has suffered from serious vandalism. Also some of the fencing dates back to 1996 and needs to be replaced due to wear and tear. This investment will make the venue safe and will deliver several upgrades to reduce the risk of future vandalism.

The project is expected to commence soon with the aim of completing installations in time for the first games of the 2020 British baseball season. Players, from complete beginners to advanced, are now registering for the new season. Click here for details.

Herts Baseball Club 2020 AGM details announced

 

Herts Baseball Club has confirmed that its 23rd Annual General Meeting will take place on Sunday, 5 January 2020.

In 2019 the club continued its growth and success on and off the field. The AGM will provide a deeper understanding of the club’s present position, and will set out the plans for 2020 and beyond. Members will receive the AGM Information Pack in due course and that will give a better idea of what to expect at the meeting.

In accordance with the Constitution, a number of Board positions will be up for election at the upcoming AGM either as part of the annual retirement of a third of the Board positions or because they are vacant.

The club is now inviting nominations for the following Board positions:

♦ President
♦ Secretary
♦ Facilities Manager Grovehill Ballpark
♦ Facilities Manager Basing Hill Ballpark
♦ Manager NBL
♦ Manager Triple-A
♦ Manager Double-A
♦ Manager Single-A
♦ Manager Single-A
♦ Head of U17 Baseball
♦ Head of U15 Baseball
♦ Head of U13 Baseball
♦ Head of U11 Baseball
♦ Head of U8 Baseball
♦ Head of Softball

Those who are interested to put their name forward or second a nomination can contact the club for more details.

Although only 2019 club members have the right to vote at the AGM, the meeting is very much open to former members and those who are considering joining the club in 2020 as players, members of staff, volunteers and fans. This is a good opportunity for newcomers to learn more about the club and meet its members. The meeting is also open to observers who are not members of the Club. Non-members who plan to attend would need to advise the club in advance as spaces are limited. If you are not a current member and wish to attend the AGM please contact the club.

The AGM will be held just a few minutes away from Grovehill Ballpark, at Gadebridge Community Centre.

DATE: Sunday, 5 January 2020

TIME: 12:00pm (registration starts at 11:45am, AGM expected to end at around 4:00pm)

VENUE: Annex Main Hall, Gadebridge Community Centre, The Nokes, Rossgate, Gadebridge, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 3LF (Directions and Map)

FOOD & DRINK: Refreshments and snacks will be served during the AGM.