BSF Executive Meeting Report: 11 April 2019

Mon 15 Apr 2019

The British Softball Federation Executive held its monthly conference call meeting on the evening of Thursday 11 April.  Below is a journalistic report on discussions and decisions.


Attendance

Present:  Jenny Fromer (President), Laura Burkhardt (Treasurer), Alexis Markham-Hill (National Teams Officer), Liz Graham (Competitions Officer), Bob Fromer (Administrator), Mike Jennings (General Officer), Stella Ackrell (General Officer), Chris Moon (BASU Representative).

Apologies:  None.


National Teams

The Executive discussed a number of items concerning GB National Teams or British club teams playing in European competitions:

  • New competition for Under-18 Men’s Fastpitch Teams.  The European Softball Federation is trying to set up a competition for Under-18 Men’s Fastpitch National Teams this year to qualify teams for next year’s WBSC Under-18 Men’s World Cup and to fill the gap before the next European U-18 Men’s Championship in 2020.  Ian Tomlin, who has been appointed Head Coach for the programme, has told the BSF that GB will enter a team in the competition if it goes ahead.  This will give a number of new players a first taste of European competition.
     
  • New Manager for the GB Under-18 Women’s Team.  The Executive approved a recommendation from the GB Management Committee that David Morris be confirmed as the new Manager for the GB Under-18 Women’s Fastpitch Team.  With no European Championship for this age group until 2021, the team will be competing this summer in the Futures Gold Division at the Canada Cup.
     
  • National Team training at Farnham Park.  The BSF has recently concluded a deal with BaseballSoftballUK for slowpitch and fastpitch national teams to be able to train at Farnham Park when pitches are available at no cost to the teams.  The training will be covered by a flat fee that the GB Management Committee will pay to BSUK.  However, it looks like there will be minimal use of the arrangement this year by national teams, and BSUK has confirmed that if that remains the case, some of the fee can be rolled over to next year.
     
  • Pins for British club teams playing abroad.  The BSF currently pays for GB Softball pins or other small gifts that national teams can use for the gift exchange between players that takes place before games at official ESF or WBSC tournaments.  Now the Executive has decided to create a BSF pin that British club teams can use at European Cup competitions.  The cost of the pins will be split between the BSF and the teams.
     
  • Help needed for national team accounts.  The BSF and the GBMC are looking for someone with at least a minimal financial background to help GB Management Committee Treasurer Simon Mortimer with the management of national team accounts.  Anyone interested should send details to info@britishsoftball.org.


National Championships, Tournaments and NSL

The Executive also dealt with a number of items related to National Championships, other BSF-run tournaments and the National Softball League (NSL):

  • Participation by Mildenhall Bombers in the Single-Sex Slowpitch National Championships.  After consideration, and in response to views from the community, the BSF has reversed its earlier decision and will now accept entries from US Base Teams, including the Mildenhall Bombers, in the Single-Sex Slowpitch Nationals.
     
  • Potential tournament clash.  Jenny Fromer told the meeting that after further discussions with BaseballSoftballUK, there will now be no clash between an open slowpitch tournament that BSUK is planning to run to celebrate the MLB games in London this summer and the Single-Sex Slowpitch Nationals.  BSUK will announce a date for their tournament shortly.
     
  • Tournament criteria.  The BSF has issued revised criteria that tournaments will need to meet to be sanctioned by the BSF and to appear in the Events list on the BSF website.  The criteria can be downloaded from the BSF website here.  The BSF will need to rely to some extent on word-of-mouth in judging whether tournaments are meeting the criteria, but have asked Tournament Organisers to send the BSF copies of their Tournament Packs so the BSF can confirm that required information has been included.
     
  • World Series applications.  Bob Fromer reported that 20 teams have applied for the 18 places available at this year’s Softball World Series Tournament, scheduled for 7-8 September at the Imperial College Heston Venue in Cranford.  Teams will shortly be asked to confirm their commitment to playing, and then the teams to receive places will be decided.
     
  • NSL 3 Nationals.  Liz Graham reported that 10 teams have signed up to contest the NSL 3 Nationals in Manchester on the weekend of 31 August-1 September.  The top two teams will be promoted to NSL 2 for the 2020 season.
     
  • Proposals to speed up play.  The BSF considered two proposals from an NSL 1 player to speed up games, with the aim of getting more innings and more at-bats within time slots.  One suggestion was for at-bats to start with a 1-and-1 count; the other was for players who hit over-the-fence home runs to simply run to and touch first base and then return to the dugout, without the need to circle the bases.  After discussion, and while appreciating the intent behind the proposals, the BSF decided not to adopt either of them.  At NSL level, the BSF would like to maintain the traditional form of the game rather than use a 1-and-1 count; and as far as the home run suggestion was concerned, it was not felt that significant time would be saved.  In addition, BASU Officer Chris Moon made the point that someone circling the bases after a home run could be out if they failed to touch a base, and that possibility should remain live.


Finances

BSF Treasurer Laura Burkhardt is now presenting the BSF Executive with an updated Budget v Actual statement on a bi-monthly basis, and the Executive considered a number of small issues brought up by the current figures.  Overall, however, the budget is going to plan.

Liz Graham, who doubles as the BSF’s Membership Officer, reported that invoices for 2019 BSF Affiliation Fees have gone out, along with requests for leagues to supply contact information for their teams.  Individual tournament teams have started to pay fees, but leagues have yet to pay, which is understandable as most league seasons haven’t started.  The payment deadline for all BSF fees is 31 May.


BSF Development Grant Applications

Two applications for BSF Development Grants had been received since the Executive last met, and both applications were considered.

One application, from a standalone softball club called the Eastbourne Bombers, was for help in staging an introductory umpire course for members of the club to make them more knowledgeable about the game and to perhaps start some of them on the path towards BASU qualification.  The BSF awarded the club £200 to help with the costs of a venue and trainer’s expenses.

The second application was from a new rookie softball team being set up in Manchester with the aim of joining the Manchester Softball League, and the request was for money to help with equipment purchase and the league entry fee.  The BSF will explore this application further with the team and the MSL.


Helpers for the London Series

Major League Baseball and the organisers of the London Series games between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox at the London Stadium in June have approached both the British baseball and softball communities to recruit young helpers – who will be paid – to carry out a number of roles during the week leading up to the games and then at the games themselves, some of which could involve being on the field or in the clubhouse.

Jenny Fromer has been working with BSUK and the GBMC to recruit helpers from softball and a list has been drawn up of around 15 young slowpitch and fastpitch players prepared to commit to the week.  Jenny will pass these names on to MLB.


BSF storage at Farnham Park

Mike Jennings reported that, with the help of BSUK, the BSF now has its own lock-up unit inside one of the containers at Farnham Park to provide more secure storage on site.  At the moment, the BSF’s stock of softballs is being stored there along with BSF flags and banners and materials connected with the Softball World Series.


Next meeting

The next BSF conference call meeting will be on Thursday 9 May.

Anyone with items to bring to the meeting should contact BSF Administrator Bob Fromer.

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