Tag Archive | "New Zealand"

Baseball’s Rise Marked By New Stadiums Worldwide


Press Release IBAF.org

“Our sport has entered into a new era of globalisation.” WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — A fresh wave of planned or recently completed baseball and softball construction projects is set to boost the growing popularity and globalisation of the bat-and-ball sports, as well as local economies, World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) officials reported. The latest developments follow historic growth for baseball and softball across Africa, with first-ever national stadiums erected in Ghana and Uganda in early 2014.

Now, as baseball and softball’s global footprint deepens, new facilities are being rolled out in the Bahamas, the Netherlands, South Africa, Spain and the United Kingdom, in addition to new-builds in mature markets like Mexico — and South Korea and Taiwan, where the first-ever domed baseball stadiums are currently taking shape.

Bahamas 

In 2015, a new national baseball stadium in the Bahamas — Andre Rodgers National Baseball Stadium — will be completed and “heralds rapid expansion of the game of baseball in the Bahamas,” reads a statement posted in November on the official website of the Government of the Bahamas.

Prime Minister of the Bahamas Perry Christie told reporters at the groundbreaking ceremony:”This is a result of the extraordinary progress of baseball in the [Bahamas], without government support, sponsored by people who had an interest, who stimulated young people…to get involved in baseball. We are now talking a benefit to the economy of the Bahamas.”

Government officials in the Bahamas indicate the state-of-the-art facility “will support the nation’s current energies to fully develop its sports tourism.”

Netherlands

Europe’s first state-of-the-art baseball and softball complex just outside Amsterdam in Hoofddorp, Netherlands was inaugurated for the 2014 season and has already hosted its first international competition. As well as attracting major baseball and softball events to the region and providing a new and exciting athlete-/fan-experience, the venue’s strategic location makes it very attractive as a regional training centre to further strengthen the development of baseball and softball in the Netherlands and in Europe.

In 2013, the Royal Dutch Baseball and Softball Association unveiled Europe’s first baseball and softball urban playground. The innovative “urban” concept was rolled out in Rotterdam and aims to take organised baseball and softball to the street, increasing the sports’ pathway and connection with young people in non-traditional settings.

New Zealand

Last month, the Auckland Council unveiled a new crown jewel baseball facility, cited by Auckland city officials as “the first of its kind in New Zealand.” Baseball New Zealand and McLeod Park Baseball Diamond have since been awarded the hosting rights of the U18 Baseball Oceania Championship, which serves as the qualifier for the 2015 U18 WBSC Baseball World Cup. Following McLeod Park’s opening ceremonies, officials in New Zealand have already been assessing the feasibility of building baseball’s first-ever national stadium in New Zealand.

Spain

The Instituto Barcelona Deportes (Barcelona Sports Institute) announced last week that it is set to begin construction on a new sports/community project, including the roll out of a new softball field next to baseball’s Estadio Carlos Perez de Rozas on Pierre de Coubertin Street in Barcelona.

“Sport is fundamental in Barcelona, so we are committed to providing the city with sports facilities necessary to ensure constant sport and of quality,” Deputy Mayor for Quality of Life, Equality and Sports, Ms. Maite Fandos, said in a statement.

South Africa

In a joint venture, the City of Cape Town and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport announced last month the unveiling of the rebuilt Bishop Lavis Softball field, which included laser-levelling of the pitch, installation of irrigation, construction of a backstop and fence, as well as installation of floodlights to hold training and competitions in the evenings.

“We are committed to providing facilities which will encourage communities to participate in sport and will nurture young talent. Sport encourages young people to live healthy and keeps them involved in wholesome activities and off the street,” the Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services, Alderman Belinda Walker, said in a statement.

United Kingdom

Following the first-ever dedicated baseball/softball stadium in the U.K. with Farnham Park Baseball and Softball Complex built last year in Slough, BaseballSoftballUK (BSUK) recently announced plans to build a new baseball and softball facility in Manchester to promote the sports and bolster participation numbers in the North of England. As growth has taken off in the U.K., including the newest facility inaugurated in Essex, John Boyd, BSUK Joint CEO, announced in November a project to expand the Farnham complex to include another international-standard baseball field.

WBSC on Baseball/Softball’s Continued Trend of Global Growth

WBSC president Riccardo Fraccari hailed the wave of initiatives as a major boost for the positioning of baseball and softball as one of the world’s leading global sports, particularly as WBSC and its partners continue working toward a return of baseball and softball in the Olympic Games.

“Our sport has entered into a new era of globalisation,” said the world governing body president. “More and more clubs, communities, cities and nations are investing in the development of baseball and softball because it is being recognised that baseball and softball are proven and popular sporting and fan activities that engage young people across both genders as well as sponsors and broadcasters, and can help to stimulate economies.

“WBSC, our National Federations, our professional league partners and the youth leagues are heavily invested in promoting our sport around the world to attract and reach — and remain relevant to — the next generation of athletes and sport fans, alike. This recognition and support from governmental institutions to help drive growth marks a significant breakthrough for our sport in terms of universality and evolving into a truly global sport.”

Based on data compiled, the WBSC estimates that over 65 million athletes practice the sport of baseball and softball in over 140 countries, with youth and females making up the majority of the participation-demographic.

Copyright © 1999-2014 IBAF . All rights reserved. Permission to cite from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to ibaf.org as the source.

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New Zealand names provisional Roster for WBC Qualifier


by Baseball New Zealand

Diamondblacks Coaching Staff Name First 25 Members of Historic New Zealand World Baseball Classic Team to Compete in Taiwan this November

AUCKLAND – Baseball New Zealand is pleased to announce the provisional roster for the World Baseball Classic Qualifier being held in Taipei from 15-19 November 2012. The roster features some familiar names and faces to New Zealand baseball fans, including a cross section of the country’s domestic baseball talent and some exciting new Kiwi talent from as far afield as Canada, the United States and Australia as New Zealand prepares for the biggest tournament in the program’s history.

This year’s World Baseball Classic (WBC), the sport of baseball’s world championship held every four years, represents the first time that New Zealand has been invited to compete in the 28-nation event and is considered a reward for the significant growth that has been made by the national program domestically, including a number of Major League Baseball and collegiate signings and dramatic rise in overall player numbers and new clubs across the country.

The roster announcement follows successful tryouts in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Further scouting was done throughout the professional leagues in Australia and North America, as well as United States colleges, with no stone left unturned to enable manager Andy Skeels to put together the strongest ever New Zealand roster with the sole intention of qualifying for the World Baseball Classic’s second round in March 2013. Skeels is the current manager of the San Francisco Giants High A club in San Jose, California.

“We’re incredibly excited about the roster we’re going to have on the field for us in Taiwan,” remarked Paraparaumu-born Skeels of the previously unranked (and mostly unknown) Diamondblacks team. “It’s great to have identified so many New Zealand-eligible players of this caliber, current and former collegiate and professional players, plus talented and up-and-coming New Zealand domestic players who will, for the first time, reveal what they can do on the world stage.” Skeels said it was incredibly difficult to cut the squad down from 50 to 25 with so many eligible talented Kiwis, and indicated that the coaching staff will have three more selections to make during the 10-day Auckland training camp over the next two weeks.

The 25 players named to the provisional roster for the WBC Qualifier includes 13 who play or have played professionally overseas. Three players on the roster are currently with professional baseball teams in North America, including first baseman Boss Moanaroa (Greenville Drive – Boston Red Sox), catcher Te Wera (Beau) Bishop (GCL Red Sox – Boston), and infielder Daniel Devonshire (GCL Blue Jays – Toronto), who was drafted this year out of Colby Community College in Kansas. Former professional players also dot the roster, including former Blue Jays minor leaguer and Future’s Game infielder Scott Campbell, former Red Sox 40-man pitcher Lincoln Holdzkom, his brother John, a 6’8″ right-handed pitcher who most recently played with the Bakersfield Blaze, the Cincinnati Reds High A team, and former San Diego Padres minor league hurler Riki Paewai who was mentored by future Hall of Fame closer Trevor Hoffman.

The roster includes five sets of brothers including David Skeels, brother to Kiwi-born manager Andy, and former minor league catcher with the Rangers, Athletics, and Mariners organizations, while Sam Bishop is the 23-year-old right-handed pitching brother of Red Sox catcher Te Wera, who in his fifth pitching appearance won the Golden Arm award in Australia’s National Under-23 Tournament this year.

They will be joined by an additional four collegiate and high school players, including the youngest member of the team, Joseph Boyce, a native New Zealand ballplayer who pitches for Chaffey Baseball Club in Washington State.

THE COMPETITION

Clearly an underdog in the WBC tournament, New Zealand will be competing against Thailand, the Philippines and host nation, the 7th ranked team in the world, Chinese Taipei, with the victor progressing to the World Baseball Classic’s next round in March in various locations across the globe. New Zealand’s National Baseball team is considered the Cinderella team and arguably the biggest unknown of the 28 teams in the tournament, as they are currently unranked in the International Baseball Federation world standings.

The World Baseball Classic has expanded for this year’s competition, adding 16 new teams to those that competed in the last World Baseball Classic won by Japan for a second consecutive time in 2009. This has led to the creation of a new qualification round made up of 12 new national teams (Brazil, Colombia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Israel, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Philippines, Spain and Thailand) and the four national teams who failed to win a game at the 2009 tournament (Canada, Chinese Taipei, Panama and South Africa). These 16 teams have been split into four qualification groups, each of which have played or will play a modified double-elimination format. Spain and Canada have already advanced respectively from the Florida and Germany qualifying pools in September. The other remaining pool between Brazil, Panama, Nicaragua and Columbia takes place in Panama at the same time New Zealand begins play in Taipei.

The New Zealand team will stay in Auckland, New Zealand for a 9-day training camp from 26 October to 3 November before travelling to Australia on Sunday, 4 November to participate in a number of warm-up games against professional Australian Baseball League teams the Sydney Blue Sox and Canberra Cavalry. The team will then fly out to Taiwan in preparation for their opening game of the World Baseball Classic Qualifier against Chinese Taipei on Thursday, 15 November 2012. All New Zealand games will be shown both live and on repeat broadcasts on SKY Television in New Zealand during the tournament, as well as broadcast live around the world online at www.worldbaseballclassic.com. Further details about the trial venues and times are available at www.baseballnewzealand.com, with further tournament details available at www.worldbaseballclassic.com.

2012 New Zealand World Baseball Classic Provisional Roster

Pitchers POS Hometown 2012 Club
Adelman, Landon LHP Regina, CAN Regina Red Sox
Bishop, Sam RHP Porirua, NZL Wellington
Boyce, Joe RHP Auckland, NZL Chaffey
Bremner, Wayde RHP Brisbane, AUS Redlands Rays
Dawson, Nick LHP Auckland, NZL Doane College
Holdzkom, John RHP California, USA Canberra Cavalry
Holdzkom, Lincoln RHP California, USA N/A
Marck, Andrew RHP Auckland, NZL Brisbane Bandits
Paewai, Riki RHP Brisbane, AUS Pine Hills
Wilson, Jamie RHP London, CAN Howick Pakuranga
Wise, Christian RHP Perth, AUS South Hedland
Catchers B/T Hometown 2012 Club
Bishop, Te Wera R/R Wellington, NZL GCL Red Sox (Boston)
Campbell, Aaron R/R Auckland, NZL Howick Pakuranga
Skeels, David R/R California, USA Orange County Waves
Infielders B/T Hometown 2012 Club
Campbell, Scott L/R Auckland, NZL Howick Pakuranga
Devonshire, Daniel R/L Auckland, NZL GCL Blue Jays (Toronto)
Hoet, Regan R/R Auckland, NZL Edmonton Blackhawks
Lamb-Hunt, Daniel R/R Auckland, NZL Brisbane Bandits
Moanaroa, Boss L/R Newcastle, AUS Greenville Drive (Boston)
Schoenberger, Alan S/R Brisbane, AUS Brisbane Bandits
Outfielders B/T Hometown 2012 Club
Auty, Tim R/R Sydney, AUS Sydney Blue Sox
Bradley, Daniel R/R Auckland, NZL South Perth Cubs
Brown , Max R/R Washington, USA Bellevue College
Lezaic, Marko R/R Auckland, NZL Preston Pirates
Moanaroa, Moko L/L Newcastle, AUS Sydney Blue Sox
Staff Position Hometown 2012 Club
Andy Skeels Manager Paraparaumu, NZL San Jose Giants

 

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WBC Qualifiers: Journey begins for New Zealand


by Baseball New Zealand

Baseball New Zealand have rounded first base in their quest for national sporting recognition with the naming of their qualifying pool for the World Baseball Classic (WBC) later this year.

Yet despite the `Diamondblacks’ being only a handful of victories away from a spot in the Classic’s finals, the sport’s top international tournament; their campaign this year will likely not receive any funding from Sport New Zealand.

A High Performance Sport New Zealand spokesperson told the Fairfax Media that “unfortunately” Baseball New Zealand’s qualification campaign doesn’t meet criteria under the high performance investment strategy, which only targets sports that can win events that are important to New Zealanders.

Their only chance to gain funding through Sport New Zealand will come if they apply during the contestable round of funding in August, the spokesperson said. Baseball New Zealand currently receives no funding from the organisation.

New Zealand, the only unranked team in the world to feature in qualification, will play Chinese Taipei, the Philippines and Thailand in a four-team group at XinZhuang Stadium in Taipei between November 15 and 18.

The winner of the group will then qualify for the tournament finals, which are due to be held in Japan next year, which will feature heavyweight nations such as the United States, Japan and Cuba.

Baseball New Zealand chief executive Ryan Flynn, who estimates the campaign to play in Chinese Taipei to cost upwards of $100,000, described the country’s participation in the tournament qualifiers as “a watershed moment” for the sport in New Zealand.

“We’re already a bit of a Cinderella team in the dance, but depending how we do we could be even more of a Cinderella story,” he said.

While New Zealand will fancy its chances against Thailand and the Philippines in the qualifying games, Taiwan will be the heavyweights of the group.

The Chinese Taipei squad could possibly feature the likes of Major League star Chien-Ming Wang (a pitcher for Washington Nationals), Hong-Chih Kuo (former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher) and Chin-lung Hu (Cleveland Indians minor league shortstop).

Recently retired Toronto Blue Jays infielder Scott Campbell, catcher Te Wera Bishop and infielder Boss Moanaroa (who both play in the Boston Red Sox organisation), and Brisbane Bandits closer Andrew Marck are all likely to feature for New Zealand.

Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Maronde, who was raised in New Zealand, has also expressed interest in playing for the Kiwi side.

Flynn said Baseball New Zealand, alongside Major League Baseball, are conducting a search for New Zealand-related players to play for the team. He added that trials will be held in the next few months for people to make or the team.

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New Zealand: Curtis Granderson to Make Appearance


New York Yankees All-Star centerfielder Curtis Granderson will be making a trip to New Zealand. His trip will coincide with the countries national program hosting 16-and-under teams from Guam and Australia from January 25-28. Granderson will be holding clinics to help out the youth teams as well as making other appearances.

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New Zealand: Oceania Under-16 Baseball Championship Trials


Auckland, New Zealand—The most accomplished coaching staff in the history of the nation’s baseball programme has been selected to guide New Zealand’s top youth baseball players against the region’s and world’s best players, according to officials from Baseball New Zealand, the sport’s governing body based in Auckland.

Head Coach Aaron Campbell, one of the nation’s first athletes to play and coach at a university in America and who recently trained with Major League Baseball’s Chicago Cubs, has selected three equally accomplished coaches, including two with professional baseball playing experience and will begin the trial and selection process for New Zealand’s Under-16 National Baseball Team on Sunday, 28 November in Northland and Auckland.

His brother, Scott Campbell, currently a second baseman in the Toronto Blue Jays organisation, along with former Taiwanese professional and Los Angeles Dodger minor leaguer player Cola Yeh and Canadian pitching coach Matt Mills round out what people in the nation’s baseball community say is the best ever group chosen to lead New Zealand’s young baseball players.

“The combined baseball experience, at the highest levels globally, is unrivalled by past teams we’ve put together,” said Baseball New Zealand president David Ballinger. “We’ve got one current professional player, a former professional player, a great pitching coach—led by a guy who recently trained with the Cubs and who we believe is one of the best coaches in the entire region. Our Under-16 team is in good hands with this coaching staff.”

The coaching staff will be responsible for choosing a twenty (20) player roster to compete against the national teams from Guam and Australia, the latter being one of the top five teams in the world. The coaches will travel the nation, beginning this coming weekend in Northland and in Auckland, to take a look at the nation’s sporting talent, and they are prepared to scout and trial all baseball and non-baseball players born between the years of 1995-1997 (players who turn 14-16 years old in 2011). Additionally, each team may also carry three (3) players born in 1998, or those baseball players who will turn 13 years of age in 2011.

The coaching staff will initially choose up to 30 players for the Under-16 National Development Squad by 20 December, and will search databases of Kiwi players who are playing baseball in Australia, Canada or elsewhere to ensure all potential players are seen or contacted. The final squad will be selected in the second week of January 2011, with the triple round-robin tournament beginning two weeks later on 25 January and concluding on 28 January.

New Zealand’s first game will also be the tournament’s opening game and will take place at 10 am on 25 January. The game will be televised on SKY Sports.  New Zealand will take on the national team from Guam in this opening round game, followed by a game against Australia’s top 16-year-old ballplayers forty-five minutes after the conclusion of the first game. All games in the Oceania Championships will be played at Lloyd Elsmore Park on Howick-Pakuranga Baseball Club’s baseball field number one.

The Under-16 International Baseball Federation (IBAF) World Championships will be held in Lagos de Moreno, Mexico, from 20th August to 30th August, and will feature national teams representing the IBAF member regions based on regional qualification, including the winner of Oceania Championships in Pakuranga.

Courtesy BaseballNZ.org

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New Zealand: Baseball has Arrived


NEW ZEALAND – Baseball will begin this year in colleges in Auckland. Ten schools will compete over 6 weeks in the inaugural College Baseball Auckland Championship.  This is a groundbreaking step in introducing the game to people in New Zealand.

The games begin October 27 and will continue for the next 5 Fridays at venues around Auckland such as Lloyd Elsmore Park, Crossfields, and St. Kentigerns College. The 10 teams that will compete in the first Championship will be King’s College, Pakuranga College, Howick College, St. Kentigerns, Sir Edmund Hillary College, One Tree Hill College, Auckland Grammar School, Waiheke High School, Macleans College and Glendowie College.

Teams will receive coaching from top coaches in New Zealand and the national body will provide equipment and umpires for games.

The Championship is set for December 1, with a rain out day of December 8.  The teams will be in two pools with the winner of Pool A playing the winner of Pool B for the Championship.

Over twenty schools have expressed interest for next year, and Baseball New Zealand will ensure that all areas are represented when the competition is open to all ages in 2011.

Schedule Wednesday October 27th:

  • Macleans College vs. Howick College
  • Auckland Grammar School vs. Pakuranga College
  • King’s College vs. Glendowie College
  • Waiheke High School vs. St. Kentigern College
  • Macleans College vs.Waiheke High School

You can find more information on the new collegiate championship and other baseball happenings in New Zealand at www.baseballnz.org.

I’d also like to thank Jose Jerez for the email linking me to Baseball NZ. We are always grateful for leads on stories about baseball around the world.

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