BSF Executive Meeting Report: 9 May 2019

Tue 14 May 2019

The BSF Executive held its latest monthly conference call meeting on the evening of Thursday 9 May.  Below is a journalistic report on discussions and decisions.


Attendance

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

Apologies:  Steve Getraer, Fiona Kielthy, Jana McCaskill (General Officers).


Insurance

The BSF has had questions raised about insurance cover for a university softball team that plays in BSUK University Championships, doesn’t play in a BSF league but recently entered and played in a BSF-sanctioned league tournament.

Such a team would have insurance cover when they play in a BSUK University Championship, and also when they play another university team, but would probably not be covered playing in a BSF-sanctioned competition, which poses a problem for the BSF-affiliated teams they play against.

The BSF Executive will work with BaseballSoftballUK to come up with a solution to the problem, possibly by affiliating university teams that do not play in BSF leagues at no charge so they are covered by BSF insurance.  University teams in BSF leagues pay a £75 affiliation fee.

This could have the advantage of encouraging more university teams to enter BSF-sanctioned tournaments and join the softball mainstream.


National Softball League

As noted in the last BSF meeting report, the BSF has had a proposal from an experienced NSL 1 player to change two standard softball rules for NSL play, in the interests of speeding up games and getting more innings played.  One suggestion is to start each at-bat with a 1-and-1 count; the other is that batters who hit over-the-fence home runs only need to reach and touch first base and can then leave the field (all baserunners when the home run was hit would simply leave the field).

The BSF will poll all NSL 1 and NSL 2 teams to see how they feel about the proposal before deciding how to proceed.

Meanwhile, Competitions Officer Liz Graham reported that fixtures are being finalised for the start of the NSL league season at the first Diamond Series tournament on 18-19 May and payments from NSL teams – and from leagues – have been coming in ahead of the 31 May deadline for payment of affiliation fees.

Liz also told the Executive that an issue with website registration – a defect in one of the online forms – had been resolved.


BSF Development Grants

The BSF has still not been receiving a large number of development grant applications, but this may change now that a prominent box with a link to the application form has been installed on the Home Page on the BSF website.

With regard to current applications, the BSF has awarded a grant of £250 to Thames Valley Softball Club to help with a youth fastpitch development programme that has been under way since the autumn of 2018, and has responded to a grant request from a new team in the Manchester Softball League with a request for more information and a suggestion that the MSL could be involved in the project.

Last month, the BSF made a grant to the Eastbourne Bombers Softball Club to help them host a one-day BASU rules course, and the course was run successfully at the end of April.


Tournaments

The BSF is now asking tournament organisers to send copies of Tournament Packs to the BSF in advance of their competition so that the BSF can check that required information, such as the rules regarding under-18 players and a BASU statement on drink and drugs, is included, along with an indication that first aid will be provided.

BSF General Officer Stella Ackrell reported that a number of Tournament Packs have been submitted and most are compliant, apart from including the BASU statement on alcohol and drugs that came from the BASU AGM held earlier this year.  Where this is missing, Stella is supplying the statement to tournament organisers.

The Executive also discussed the need to raise entry fees for this year’s Softball World Series tournament.  The need has arisen because the venue provider, Imperial College, will be imposing VAT on field hire this year, which means that the BSF will face an additional cost for a tournament where it already provides a significant subsidy.

The decision was that the increase in entry fees needed to cover this additional cost will be phased in over two years, with the BSF absorbing some of the increase in 2019.  For teams, the result will be an increase of £15 in entry costs this year and again next year.


National Teams

Slowpitch World Cup.  Mike Jennings reported to the Executive that the US, Canada and New Zealand have all pledged to send teams to a Co-ed Slowpitch World Cup for national teams (in effect, a Slowpitch World Championship) that the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) had agreed to inaugurate in 2020.  The US has further agreed to promote the event to Caribbean and Central and South American countries.

To date, however, there has been little sign that the WBSC is working towards making the competition a reality.

Further support for the competition has come from ESF President Gabriel Waage, and there are likely to be a number of European entrants alongside the GB Slowpitch Team.

The key now, Mike told the Executive, is for all those who support the competition to continue to put pressure on WBSC Softball Division President Tommy Velazquez to make it happen.

BSF pins for club teams.  For a number of years, the BSF has paid for the production of GB pins, pennants and other gifts that national team players and coaches exchange with the opposition at official ESF or WBSC tournaments.

Now the BSF is going to order a quantity of BSF pins that can be used by club teams playing in tournaments overseas or at international tournaments hosted in the UK.  The idea is to split the cost of the pins with clubs that want to use them.  This parallels current practice whereby the BSF pays the full cost of entry to official Championship competitions for national teams and half the cost of entry to ESF Cup competitions for club teams.


Farnham Park

Bob Fromer reported to the Executive that one of the containers in the storage compound at Farnham Park has now been designated solely for use by the BSF, the GB Management Committee (on behalf of GB national teams) and the GB Fastpitch League.  The BSF has recently installed a separate and lockable storage unit inside that container, so BSF softballs and other equipment will be stored in the unit and GB Softball and the GBFL will use the rest of the container, which will help to keep everything separated. 

The BSF’s venerable green wooden scoreboard will also be stored in that container, and the BSF is hoping that it can be used for more tournaments this year rather than simply sitting in the container.  It will definitely be used for the BSF’s League and NSL Nationals as well as at the Softball World Series, and other tournaments at Farnham Park are welcome to use it by making a request to info@britishsoftball.org.


Volunteers for London Series events

The BSF and BaseballSoftbaallUK have worked together to submit a list of athletes from softball national teams to Major League Baseball to serve as paid helpers during the London Series games between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox at the London Stadium on 29-30 June.

During the week beginning 13 May, there will be a push for volunteers from the softball and baseball communities to help with a number of events for baseball fans and young players that will take place around the London Stadium and in East London during the week leading up to the games.

BSF President Jenny Fromer told the Executive that MLB was doing a good job of fulfilling its pledge to include and involve softball in the London Series.


BaseballSoftballUK Board and Committee meetings

A standing item at BSF conference call meetings is reports from meetings of the BaseballSoftballUK Board or Committees attended by members of the BSF Executive.

There were no such meetings since the BSF Executive last met in April, but Jenny Fromer reported that there is a vacancy for a BSF representative on the BSUK Board and the BSF will want to make a nomination.

Due to the recent resignation of an Independent Board member, there is a need on the Board for someone with a financial background, and the BSF will look for someone who might be able to provide that expertise.


Criteria for places in the European Slowpitch Cup

The BSF had been asked by an NSL 1 team to clarify the order in which teams will be eligible for places in the 2020 European Slowpitch Cup, given that the Pioneers will qualify as defending champions and Great Britain will have two more places to fill.

The BSF decided to change the previous order slightly to conform more closely to ESF criteria for this tournament, and the new order will be as follows:

• 2019 NSL Nationals Winner -- TBD
• 2018 NSL Nationals Winner -- Pioneers (already have a place as defending champions)
• 2019 NSL Nationals Runner-up -- TBD
• 2018 NSL Nationals Runner-up -- Chromies
• 2019 NSL League Winner -- TBD
• 2018 NSL League Winner -- Pioneers
• 2019 NSL League Runner-up -- TBD
• 2018 NSL League Runner-up -- Chromies
• 2019 NSL Nationals 3rd Place -- TBD
• 2018 NSL Nationals 3rd Place -- Knights
• 2019 NSL League 3rd Place -- TBD
• 2018 NSL League 3rd Place -- H2O


Next meeting

The BSF’s next conference call meeting will be held on the evening of Thursday 13 June.

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

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