The BSF Executive held its latest monthly videoconference meeting on the evening of Thursday 13 October. Below is a report on the main discussions and decisions.
New name for Softball World Series
To honour long-time BASU and European slowpitch umpire Chris Moon, who passed away in September, the BSF Executive has decided to rename its annual international slowpitch tournament, the Softball World Series, as the Chris Moon Softball World Series Tournament.
BSF Treasurer Laura Burkhardt told the meeting that draft Accounts for the BSF’s 2021-22 financial year and a draft Budget for 2022-23 will be prepared towards the end of November.
Anyone within the BSF Executive or in the softball community who is owed money by the BSF for any reason should submit an invoice to Laura via email@example.com as soon as possible.
Change to NSL regulations
At the present time, promotion and relegation between NSL3 and NSL2 and between NSL2 and NSL1 is decided on the basis of NSL league play, but qualification from NSL1 for a place in the European Co-ed Slowpitch Super Cup is decided by the results of the NSL1 Nationals.
The Executive has now decided that, starting with the European Super Cup in 2025, places will be decided on the basis of NSL1 league results.
Competitions Officer Liz Graham told the meeting that all places in NSL1, NSL2 and NSL3 are now filled for 2023. The BSF may be looking to start an NSL4 league in 2024, but this will depend on how many teams are interested and the number of pitches available at Farnham Park.
European Men’s Super Cup. Two teams from Great Britain are allowed to enter the annual European Men’s Super Cup, though we have generally sent just one team to the event.
Starting in 2023, however, the plan is to enter a GB Men’s Development Team as our second team in addition to the Great Britain Fastpitch League (GBFL) winner, which in 2022 was the Stags. The GB Development Team will be able to call on players from all GBFL teams, though the Stags will have first call on their own players, and the Development Team will also be able to call on players who do not compete in the GBFL.
International Relations Steering Group. BSUK CEO John Boyd told the meeting that BSUK’s International Relations Steering Group will meet before Christmas, with a representative from the BSF expected to attend.
European Co-ed Slowpitch Super Cup. Mike Jennings told the meeting that no host has been identified as yet for the 2023 European Co-ed Slowpitch Super Cup, and no decision has been made on exactly when the competition will be held, though it will be around the beginning of August. The possibility that Germany might host the competition seems to have diminished.
John Boyd told the meeting that BSUK was keen to bring a European Slowpitch Championship competition to Farnham Park in the near future and may be willing to take on the financial risk, but would be unlikely to do this for the Slowpitch Super Cup.
Slowpitch World Cup. Mike Jennings told the meeting that discussion on requirements for hosting the 2023 WBSC Slowpitch World Cup will be on the agenda at the next WBSC Board meeting in mid-November. Once the requirements are defined, the hope is that a host will come forward and specific dates and venues for the tournament can be established.
Questions have been raised internationally in recent years about whether the term “co-ed” is the most appropriate one to use for mixed-sex softball, since it emerged from the American university system and has a slightly derogatory connotation with regard to female players.
Nevertheless, the term “co-ed” is widely used in softball internationally, including by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC).
The Executive had a brief discussion about this but agreed to consider the matter more fully at a future meeting. Other potential terms, such as “mixed” or “mixed-sex” softball, also have potential problems.
Celebration of GB success in softball and baseball
John Boyd told the meeting that a celebration of success this year by the GB Women’s Fastpitch Team (a silver medal at the European Women’s Championship) and by the GB Baseball Team (qualification for the 2023 World Baseball Cup) will he held on the evening of Friday 28 October at a sports bar in Waterloo, with GB coaches from both sports attending.
After the celebrations, those who are interested will be welcome to join a party to watch the first game of the MLB World Series.
BSF Technical Officer Pete Saunders told the meeting that the celebration of Chris Moon’s life on 22 October at Farnham Park is expected to draw a large crowd.
Pete also told the Executive that work has started on updates to the online BASU training modules, and dates for planned courses in January will be released soon.
It has also been agreed that BASU umpires will be assigned to officiate in university programmes.
The BSF has made a financial contribution to help four British coaches attend the annual European Softball Coaches Association (ESCA) Camp in the Netherlands later in October.
John Boyd told the meeting that preparations have started for the 2023 BSUK Coach Summit, where all three formats (baseball, fastpitch and slowpitch) will be represented.
State of Play Survey
BSUK, the BSF and the BBF will be cooperating in a State of Play Survey to be carried out among both sports shortly to try to establish who is playing the game following the Covid pandemic.
Identifying the number of teams playing is relatively easy, but identifying individual players is harder, but necessary to get an accurate picture of those involved in the sports.
Any Other Business
It was noted at the meeting that the Bristol Softball League is about to start running its 25th season of Indoor softball.
The BSF’s next monthly videoconference meeting will be held on the evening of Thursday 10 November.
All members of the Executive or the softball community who have matters to raise at that meeting should contact BSF Administrator Bob Fromer.