MLB Tournament set for this coming weekend

Tue 14 Jul 2015

The BSUK MLB Softball Tournament will take place this coming weekend, 18-19 July, at Farnham Park, over a decade since it last ran in 2002.  A total of 38 teams will take part, and all will compete in MLB team T-shirts, provided by Majestic.

The MLB Tournament of old, that ran from 1997 through 2002, was considered by many at the time to be the best event on the softball tournament calendar, and BSUK hopes that those who remember it will be keen to re-visit the experience.
 

Motivations

BaseballSoftballUK and Major League Baseball have worked closely to re-stage the MLB Tournament in 2015.  One motivation for bringing the tournament back is the interest that MLB has in staging regular-season Major League Baseball games in Europe.  Because this is part of MLB’s vision, there is real value to BSUK in working with them to keep the brand and the possibility front and centre.

But there are additional reasons for running this event.  Since Farnham Park opened in 2012, BSUK has made little direct use of the facility.  But the development agency has now created an events plan which aims to make regular use of the resource, with the specific goal of bringing money back into the game.

Within this plan, BSUK has clear objectives in delivering events to the softball community.  These include ensuring that all grades of play are on fully-fenced fields, and that each grade rotates through the purpose-built showcase fields. All finals will be held on the dedicated diamonds.

A further part of the plan is to expand the ‘event’ dimension of the tournament by providing a range of catering options, including a cake stall that will be run by the GB Under-19 Girls’ Fastpitch Team as a fundraiser.  There will be side competitions run throughout the weekend, including a ‘Million Dollar Arm’-style pitching cage.  Ransome Sporting Goods will be on site with equipment and accessories for sale, and Saturday night will feature an on-site party with DJ and bar.
 

Competition

All of this is the logistical and strategic stuff that lies behind the event, but on Saturday morning, when 38 softball teams arrive on site and don their adopted MLB team shirts, it will be all about the competition.

Teams will be coming from as far afield as Brighton, Bristol, Norfolk and Manchester, as well as a special entry to the A-grade competition, the Haarlem Toucans.  This Dutch team, making its debut in British softball, is organised by Stanley Doney, currently coaching a top women’s fastpitch club team in the Netherlands, and is a welcome addition to NSL competition. 

The participation of the Toucans will hopefully continue the slowpitch connection between the two countries that began in 2012 when the GB Slowpitch Team toured the Netherlands.  The connection should be reinforced when a new Dutch National Slowpitch Team comes to the Softball World Series in September.

Meanwhile, the 2015 Ad League Rookies will be playing in C-grade in preparation for their annual trip to the United States, and current National Champion Chromies have used the tournament as a reunion event, with ex-players travelling from all over the world to make up an A-grade and B-grade team.
 

Pride

BSUK and MLB are proud to bring the MLB Tournament back for the first time since 2002, and are keen to promote the connection between the two sports and the fact that many softballers are keen fans of the American professional game.

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