by Josh Chetwynd
In the fifth annual Mister-Baseball Top 50, T&A San Marino decisively took the top position, becoming the first club based in neither Italy nor the Netherlands to secure the number one ranking. Admittedly, San Marino’s victory is one for the Italian Baseball League as the club competes in Italy’s domestic league. But regardless of geography, San Marino’s performance was dominate: not only did the team capture the IBL title but it also won one of the two European Cup pool events as well as the European “Final 4” club title. The squad outpaced the second-place finisher in the Top 50, Hoofdklasse champion L&D Amsterdam by the largest margin since the first rankings in 2007 when the Netherland’s Corendon Kinheim prevailed by a slightly larger total over its closest rival.
Teams from the IBL also finished third and fourth in the Top 50. Danesi Caffe Nettuno, Coppa Italia victor and runner up in the IBL, came in immediately behind Amsterdam, while Cariparma Parma, which lost to San Marino in the “Final 4” championship, placed fourth. German Bundesliga champions, Buchbinder Legionäre, rounded out the top five.
Winner of one of the two Euro Cup pools, Unipol Bologna led the bottom-half of the top ten, followed by Hoofdklasse vice-champions, Vaessen Pioneers, perennial Dutch contender DOOR Neptunus, Spanish Division de Honor winners, FC Barcelona, and Germany’s second-place club, the Paderborn Untouchables.
As in years past, these rankings are based on a combination of factors. Point totals for teams were amassed from two categories:
- Strength of baseball in each club’s country: The strength of domestic leagues and the countries’ overall international success are significant factors in these rankings. To varying degrees, the elements considered include: The standing of each country’s national team in the European Championships (and qualifiers); the country’s overall performance in CEB club events; the size of the country’s baseball membership; and the number of international quality facilities in the country. In looking at country performance, both recent events and historical performance are taken into account. Results from the 2011 European Championship qualifiers were considered in this year’s rankings.
- Club’s performance: This is the actual performance of each club. It includes final standings in domestic leagues (and inter-league play where applicable) and cup competitions; club winning percentages; and performances in CEB-sanctioned competitions. Head-to-head performance against other teams in the rankings is taken into consideration – but it is one of many factors. In this category, a team’s performance for the 2011 season is 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 stir 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 email@example.com.
Countries covered: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Ukraine.