A few days ago we published the press release for the first-ever IBAF World Rankings on Mister-Baseball.com. It is time to look at the standings from a European standpoint. 14 teams are listed with the Netherlands ranked in sixth place, being the lone top-ten country from the old continent. They are right in the middle of the pack of teams, which are chasing the current big four in International Baseball: Cuba, USA, Korea and Japan.
The gap between the Dutch and the rest of Europe is pretty steep, but it is encouraging for the development that four teams are in the top-20 and nine in the top-30. Italy (13), Spain (16) and Germany (19) round up the top 20, the Czech Republic (21), Great Britain (23), Sweden (25), France (27) and Russia (30) follow till place 30. The Ukraine (32), Croatia (34), Greece (37), Austria (39) and Lithuania (40) also were ranked.
With every ranking there are also some flaws. Countries, which take part in a lot of tournaments, get more points than other, though this is directly related to the performance of teams. If you are good, you are getting lots of invitations and getting opportunities to improve your ranking.
For example the Netherlands competed in the Olympics, the Haarlem Baseball Week, the 2008 World Juniors, the 2007 Baseball World Cup and the 2007 European Championships since September 2007. In comparison for Italy the results of the 2008 World Juniors, the 2007 Baseball World Cup and the 2007 European Championships are count in the same timeframe. If you even go down to Great Britain, the Ukraine or France, they only have the European Championships.
But still, the intentions of the rankings are going into the right direction. The IBAF is going to update the standings after each tournament and we’ll hopeful to see some movement. The big events this year are probably the World Baseball Classic in March and for Europe especially the Baseball World Cup in September with seven participants. We are talking about the World Rankings, which is the most important reason to publish them regularly.
For a view from a British standpoint, visit Baseball GB for their great in-depth analysis of the 23rd rank by Great Britain.
European Countries and their position in the World Rankings:
- Netherlands (6th overall)
- Italy (13)
- Spain (16)
- Germany (19)
- Czech Republic (21)
- Great Britain (23)
- Sweden (25)
- France (27)
- Russia (30)
- Ukraine (32)
- Croatia (34)
- Greece (37)
- Austria (39)
- Lithuania (40)