Category: Video News

New baseball league aims to give kids the MLB experience in Herts and NW London

New baseball league aims to give kids the MLB experience in Herts and NW London

With the success of the Covid vaccination roll out, families around England are looking forward to resuming outdoor activities in April. Today’s announcement by Herts Baseball Club gives them even more to look forward to this summer with the launch of a brand new youth baseball league in Herts and London.

The Herts Youth Baseball League (HYBL) aims to bring the MLB experience by incorporating as many of the features of Major League Baseball as possible.

Children and their parents watching MLB on their TVs must have wondered what it would be like to wear those uniforms and play for a team on a beautiful baseball diamond. Or compete in playoffs surrounded by cheering fans enjoying the food and unique atmosphere of the ballpark. Even without MLB’s multi-billion dollar budget, the HYBL aims to offer the players and families an experience as close to MLB as possible.

Boys and girls aged 6 to 14, from complete beginners to advanced players, are able to join the various teams which will play in the different age divisions.

Games will be played at the club’s two ballparks – Grovehill Ballpark in Hemel Hempstead and Basing Hill Ballpark in North West London. They are conveniently located within a thirty minute drive from each other. Substantial investment has gone into Grovehill Ballpark, making it one of the best baseball venues in the UK.  Crowdfunding is underway to repeat that success story at Basing Hill Ballpark.

The regular season will comprise twelve games and around 75% of the season will be played at the team’s nearest ballpark to reduce travel for families. Similar to MLB, teams will be in a race to qualify for the postseason playoffs which will determine the league champions.

The 2021 game schedule for the Under-15 and Under-11 divisions of the league have been published. Visit the League website.

Last month, the Prime Minister unveiled a plan to come out of the Covid lockdown. As a sport which had a Covid-secure protocol approved by the government in July 2020, baseball clubs up and down the country are expected to restart activities from 29 March onwards.

Opening Day of the 2021 HYBL season has been scheduled for Saturday, 8 May. In the four weeks before that, children can come to the Open Days to try baseball and to help them decide if they would like to register for the season and play in the league. The Open Days will be held at both ballparks in Hemel Hempstead and in NW London.

The team managers will adopt an MLB-style Draft system to select the teams. This should ensure that all the teams are of equal strength, which should make it an exciting and a close race for the playoffs.

In an interview with the two joint Directors of Youth Baseball, Will Zucker and Aspi Dimitrov, they outlined their goal to “recreate that special baseball atmosphere in our ballparks with food, music and a lot more. We want children and their families to enjoy game days, allowing developing players the incredible feeling of playing in front of fans – similar to the superstars of MLB.”

HYBL is aiming to have four league teams in each age group – two based in Hemel Hempstead and two in NW London. This will not be an easy task as the nation is in the process of coming out a lockdown so there will be bumps along the way. But Zucker, Dimitrov and the rest of the youth baseball department are optimistic that, with support from club members and the wider community, the league has enormous potential to grow into something special, “it’s crucial the league inspires support from the community to spread the word. We are asking Herts baseball families to share news of our league on social media and with their friends, colleagues and neighbours. If every club member recommends the league to two friends, we will reach our target.”

Players are now registering for the 2021 season. More information about joining the league can be found here.

To come to try baseball at no cost at one of the upcoming Open Days, or if you require more information, contact the club.

Herts Baseball Club pitches to the Mayor of London as part of its Basing Hill Ballpark crowdfunding campaign

Herts Baseball Club pitches to the Mayor of London as part of its Basing Hill Ballpark crowdfunding campaign

Herts Baseball Club has launched a crowdfunding campaign to build a baseball venue at Basing Hill Park in North West London and hopes that the Mayor of London will also back the project.

Herts adult and youth teams began playing baseball in Basing Hill Park in 2019, but there were significant challenges to this. Their baseball infrastructure was very basic. The playing field surface was in a derelict state, to such an extent that football teams stopped playing there more than ten years ago. The park suffered further damage when it was used to train police horses.

The club is now looking to raise over £55,000 to create a high quality baseball venue. This money will be used to level and resurface the playing field with new grass, install a permanent backstop, create an infield, team benches and other baseball elements. The project will also bring the park cafe back to life, a building which has been stagnant for over ten years.

If the club hits its crowdfunding target, Basing Hill Ballpark will not only bring baseball and softball into the heart of the community but will also revitalise this small, but cherished, outdoor space. The park will become a family oriented setting with organised events, outdoor cinema and a newly restored cafe, providing for the whole community in a Covid-secure environment.

The club has already submitted its pitch to the Mayor of London, who will be following the campaign closely over the next few weeks. If the project shows that it has support from the community, the Mayor could pledge as much as 50% of the total project cost.

This type of project is not new to Herts Baseball Club. In 2009 they delivered a very similar project when they constructed a second baseball diamond at their branch in Hemel Hempstead to accommodate the increasing number of players. 

A large proportion of the club’s members are based in NW London and there are many more who want to play baseball but are unable to make the journey to Hemel Hempstead. 

Baseball was in the spotlight when the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees came to London to play MLB games in 2019 in front of a 60,000 sell-out crowd. This led to a further increase in the number of enquiries from kids and adults who wanted to play baseball. Basing Hill Ballpark is in a densely populated part of London with good transport connections which makes it an excellent venue to meet that demand.

Herts is competing with 80 other projects for the Mayor’s support and its club president, Aspi Dimitrov, emphasised that “it will be a big challenge to reach the crowdfunding target, especially as so many have been affected by the Covid pandemic but, if we achieve it, we will create something very special for the community”. He added that “every pledge, large or small, will play a vital role in this campaign and supporters can pledge as little as £2”.

Individuals, businesses and other organisations can make a pledge on the Basing Hill Ballpark crowdfunding page on Spacehive, which is working closely with the Mayor of London and other local authorities to help fund community-led projects. The campaign must reach the target by 11 May 2021.  The money raised will be received by the club only if the project hits the target.  If it doesn’t, all pledges will be cancelled.

If the target is reached, work on the project is expected to commence in August and the aim is to unveil the new ballpark in time for the 2022 baseball season.

For more information and to make a pledge, go to the Basing Hill Ballpark project page on Spacehive.

WATCH: Robert Smith becomes the first ever Herts player to appear in the U18 World Cup

WATCH: Robert Smith becomes the first ever Herts player to appear in the U18 World Cup

Earlier today, over 5,600 miles away, Robert Smith became the first ever Herts player to appear in the U18 World Cup.

He took the mound in relief in the third inning for South Africa against Panama, who already had an unassailable lead. Below is the video link to the game.

Smith allowed only 3 earned runs for the remainder of the game which gives him the third best ERA out of the eight South African pitchers who have pitched so far.

South Africa is ranked 23rd in the world and has been drawn in a particularly difficult group with the number one and two seeds, Japan and USA, respectively. They will play Spain next tomorrow Monday, 2 September, at 15:30 local time. The games are played at the impressive newly-unveiled Gijang-Hyundai Dream Ballpark in Busan, South Korea.

London has a new baseball team

London has a new baseball team


Earlier this evening, at its 22nd Annual General Meeting, Herts Baseball Club unveiled its first London-based team. At a packed venue it was announced that the name of the team will be the Herts Londoners.

In deciding the name, the club opted to retain its established brand name, Herts, symbolising its origins, while at the same time the team’s moniker, Londoners, signifies its new geographic location. Over the years Herts teams have featured a large number of players from North West London, but this new team will welcome not only these existing Herts players, but, more importantly, it aims to give playing opportunities to everyone in North West London who is interested to play baseball but until now has not had a team located near them and has found it difficult to travel to the club’s existing baseball complex in Hemel Hempstead.

This additional club base will give Herts extra flexibility and greater capacity to accommodate players of all levels from complete beginners to players of the highest calibre. The MLB London Series between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees will be played on 29 and 30 June, but it is already having a positive effect in attracting new players to the club. The team managers will need to show foresight and leave extra room in their rosters so that they have the capacity to accommodate the surge in demand from new players as we get closer to the London Series.

The Herts Londoners will be wearing the traditional white uniform with the red Herts letters on the chest and the red letter “H” on their black baseball caps. The team’s logo also reflects these established branding features and the Club’s colours of red, white and black.

The 31 January deadline for team entries in the various leagues of the British Baseball Federation (BBF) is fast-approaching. The Club did not reveal at this stage which BBF league tier the Londoners will be entering, but it will announce this on or around the deadline day. After that, the focus will turn to the 2019 Season Opening Day in April and the first ever game in the history of this team.

Stay tuned for our next article which will include all the facts and details of the ballpark in North West London which will be the home of the Herts Londoners.

For more details about how to join any of the Herts adult and youth baseball and softball teams or to try baseball at an upcoming open session, please contact us. You can now follow the Herts Londoners on Twitter.

WATCH: The first ever game to be streamed live from Grovehill Ballpark

WATCH: The first ever game to be streamed live from Grovehill Ballpark


On Sunday Grovehill Ballpark hosted the British Baseball Federation Single-A National Final between the Long Eaton Storm and London Musketeers. The game was streamed live on the BBF YouTube Channel making it the first ever game to be streamed live from the home of Herts Baseball Club. The game was previously rained out on three separate occasions. This game being played on 21 October may have made history as the first game to be played so late in the season.  Usually the National Finals are played in the first half of September.

Herts Falcons qualify for Europe

Herts Falcons qualify for Europe

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By virtue of reaching the NBL Final, and regardless of the outcome of the Final, the Herts Falcons have qualified for European club competitions in 2019.  Players were not told by Manager, Cris Hiche, until after the two Playoff wins on Sunday that reaching the NBL Final would secure a place in Europe. In their post-game interviews we put a few questions about playing in Europe next year to Cris Hiche and Conner Brown both of whom have played under professional contracts with European clubs in the last two seasons – Hiche in Austria with the Dornbirn Indians and Brown in Germany with the Cologne Cardinals.