by Josh Chetwynd
After two seasons of Dutch domination at the top of the tables, the third annual Mister-Baseball European Top 50 has a new country taking the top spot: Italy. Fortitudo Bologna rode a combination of an Italian Baseball League championship, a co-European Cup crown and a silver medal performance in the Europe’s Final Four to claim the title. Two Dutch clubs followed Bologna: the Hoofdklasse champion, DOOR Neptunus, and league runners-up Konica Minolta Pioneers. After finishing at the top of the standings last year, L&D Amsterdam fell to a tie at the fourth spot with Rouen Baseball 76. Amsterdam did earn a European Cup crown but couldn’t progress out of the Hoofdklasse semi-finals. Rouen secured its placing thanks to a French League and a Challenge De France title as well as a third-place finish at the European Cup – in which they beat Amsterdam head-to-head.
Two IBL squads came next: League runners-up and Italian Cup winner T&A San Marino and Final Four champion Danesi Caffe Nettuno. Although Nettuno walked away with the Final Four title, its inability to make it to the IBL playoffs was reflected in its final placing. In contrast, eighth-place finisher Tenerife Marlins dominated the Spanish domestic league, but a poor performance in European Cup competition left them outside of the top-five. Dutch semi-finalist Corendon Kinheim, which shared a European Cup title with Bologna, placed in a tie with Tenerife and the German Bundesliga champion Heidenheim Heidekoepfe rounded out the top-10.
These rankings continue to be based on a combination of factors. Point totals for teams were amassed from two categories:
- Strength of baseball in the club’s country: The strength of domestic leagues and the countries’ overall international success were significant factors in these rankings. Among the elements considered were: The standing of each country’s national team in the European Championships; the country’s overall performance in CEB club events; and the size of the baseball membership in the country. In looking at country performance, both recent events and historical performance were taken into account.
- Club’s performance: This is the actual performance of the clubs. This included final standings in domestic leagues and cup competitions; clubs’ winning percentages; and performances in CEB-sanctioned competitions. Head-to-head performance against other teams in the rankings is taken into consideration – but is one of many factors. In this category, a team’s performance for the 2009 season was exclusively considered.
The combination of country strength and individual team performance is intended to give a snapshot of European club play for a single year. These rankings do not attempt to offer a historic comparison of clubs and do not assert that a team ranked higher than another is a “better” team. Rather, a combination of performance and league strength reflects the ordering.
We recognize that these rankings may stir some debate. In part, that’s their very purpose. We do not claim this list to be definitive. If you have any questions or comments, send e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Countries covered: Austria, Belarus. Belgium. Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine.