by Josh Chetwynd
While it was close, T&A San Marino has earned the top spot in the 2012 edition of the Mister-Baseball Top 50. It is the second straight year San Marino has taken the title. The Top 50’s runner-up Unipol Bologna, which earned first-place finishes in the European Championship Cup Final 4 and European Cup pool play, certainly had a strong season. But San Marino – despite a third-place finish in Euro Cup pool play – was able sneak by its rival on our list thanks in large part to its strong regular season in the Italian Baseball League, followed by a tremendous playoff run that lead to the IBL championship. (Bologna’s loss in the IBL semi-finals hurt the team’s cause.)
After triumphing in the Dutch finals against DOOR Neptunus, Corendon Kinheim finished third in the Top 50. Neptunus tied for fifth with European Championship Cup Final 4 participant L&D Amsterdam, just below Danesi Caffe Nettuno, which took second in the Final 4 and placed fourth in these rankings.
Beyond that elite group, there were a number of standout performances in 2012 that led to notable rankings: Rouen Baseball 76 secured the seventh spot – its highest year-end result since 2009. The club not only won the French title, but also earned a place in the Final 4 after a series of impressive victories in European Cup pool play. Elsewhere, the Bern Cardinals, which won a European Cup qualifier tournament and then captured a spot in next year’s top European Cup pool, finished tied for 31st – the highest finish ever for a Swiss club. The Espoo Expos also made Finnish baseball proud, taking second in a European Cup qualifier en route to a tie for 42nd (its country’s best performance to date).
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 2012 European Championships were considered as part of 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 2012 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
|1||T&A San Marino||San Marino||33.25|
|2||CNF Unipolsai Bologna||Italy||32.50|
|4||Angel Service Gruppo Nettuno||Italy||31.00|
|7||Rouen Baseball 76||France||29.67|
|9||ASD Rimini Baseball||Italy||28.00|
|13||Draci Brno||Czech Republic||22.50|
|19||Les Templiers de Senart||France||20.17|
|20||Eagles Praha||Czech Republic||18.00|
|21||Karlskoga Bats BBK||Sweden||17.08|
|22||Tenerife Marlins P.C.||Spain||17.00|
|Paris Université Club||France||16.17|
|26||Savigny sur Orge Lions||France||15.67|
|27||Technika Brno||Czech Republic||15.50|
|Southern Nationals||United Kingdom||15.00|
|30||Kotlářka Praha||Czech Republic||14.50|
|TJ STU Angels Trnava||Slovakia||13.75|
|33||Baseball Klub Nada SM Split||Croatia||13.58|
|35||K. Borgerhout Squirrels||Belgium||13.57|
|36||MGPU S.Y.O.S. Moscow||Russia||13.08|
|38||Herts Falcons||United Kingdom||12.00|
|Almada White Sharks||Portugal|
Countries covered: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Ukraine.