A full round-up from the day can be found on the BBF website.
A report from the AGM can also be found on the Herts baseball Club website. This rightfully emphasises the positive news of all BBF Board positions being filled and there being a commitment from teams to make youth programmes a priority.
The AGM motion that caught my eye two weeks ago – that of the AAA-North champions gaining a National Baseball League Wild Card spot – was withdrawn by the proposers (Liverpool Trojans). That’s perhaps a topic to think about in greater detail and to return to ahead of the 2014 season.
In the meantime, we will get to see the Trojans pitting their baseball wits against the two-time reigning NBL champions, the Harlow Nationals, in a pre-season game. The teams are scheduled to meet on Sunday 24 March as a special event at the Leicester Spring League.
Plenty of motions were passed at the AGM, including Motion 2 in which it was agreed that the postseason format will be set before the season begins.
It’s important for the credibility of the competition, as well as the commitment of all players, for everyone to know what they have to play for. Twitter has been abuzz recently with teams and players working hard in preparation for the season ahead and knowing the postseason format in due course will allow every club to set targets for 2013
2013 leagues taking shape
The BBF Twitter account also has been ticking off teams that have registered for the coming season and in the weeks ahead we’ll receive confirmation as to who will be competing at each level of British baseball.
Every year brings changes, sometimes due to the disappointment of a team bowing out, but more often due to new teams joining the fold and/or clubs progressing up through the leagues.
Initial reports suggest 2013 will be no different and that we’ll see positive growth at each level, from Milton Keynes adding a second team – the Coyotes – to play in Single-A, Hove Tuesday moving up to Double-A, Herts Baseball Club returning to Triple-A with a fifth team (still to be named) and developments at the NBL level with the (Essex) Redbacks earning a promotion to the top-tier in the club’s fourth year in existence.
The Redbacks’ Chairman Matt Jennings gave a great indication of the hard-working spirit at his club when his obvious, and justified, joy in seeing the team make it into the NBL was immediately set in the context of the challenges that lay ahead:
“Our work is far from done, and we need to get our heads down and strive to the next level. We know it’ll be tough against much stronger opposition than we have faced regularly before, but we think that if we are able to hold our own this year we’ll be happy and look to push on for the future”.
The Redbacks can take plenty of heart from the way in which the Herts Falcons, Essex Arrows and Southampton Mustangs have moved up into the NBL in recent years. Seeing the Redbacks progress like this is not only great for the club, but great news for British baseball in general too.
The other sort of promotion
The on-field preparations around the leagues are being joined by continued efforts to promote clubs and British baseball. BaseballSoftballUK recently published guides to ‘Local and Social Media’ and ‘Creating Local Press Releases’ written by the Redbacks’ Michael Jones to provide some useful pointers on how clubs can promote themselves even more effectively.
Several teams have launched new websites recently too, such as Milton Keynes and Cambridge Royals, whilst the Croydon Pirates’ website has undergone a complete overhaul to reflect the team’s ‘rebranding’ in becoming the South London Pirates.
With so much good work going on at clubs throughout the country, let’s keep the Twitter accounts active, the Facebook pages thriving and club websites and the BBF website providing regular, up-to-date news to show those not involved yet just what they could be a part of.
And on that note, welcome to the Northants Baseball Club. You’re joining a sport that’s firmly on the way up.