by Josh Chetwynd
For the first time in five years, a Dutch team has earned the top spot in the Mister-Baseball Top 50. The 2013 edition of the annual European club rankings was topped by the Netherlands’ national champions, DOOR Neptunus. The Rotterdam-based club followed up a strong regular-season campaign in the Hoofdklasse with a victory in the Holland Series. The honor for the Netherlands comes in the same year the country proved its might on the international stage by placing in the top-four at the World Baseball Classic.
That said, Neptunus was helped by a season of relative parity in the Italian Baseball League. T&A San Marino, which finished first in each of the past two Top 50s, took second this year on the strength of its championship in the IBL. San Marino may have made it a three-peat in these rankings if not for its second-place finish in CEB Cup pool play and a solid-but-unspectacular regular season showing. While Unipol Bologna stumbled in the semi-finals of domestic play, the club’s regular season title plus its triumph in the CEB Cup resulted in a third-place ranking. In fourth was another Italian team, Telemarket Rimini, which earned vice-champion status in the IBL and won a CEB Cup pool competition only to lose to Bologna in the cup finals.
Rounding out the top-5 was Germany’s Buchbinder Legionäre. The club’s regular season play combined with its fifth German title in the past six years, was enough to secure its spot — despite a disappointing fifth place finish in a CEB Cup pool event it hosted, which included a loss to lower-ranked L&D Amsterdam (but also a win versus higher-ranked San Marino).
The Dutch were well-represented in the second-half of the top ten. Holland Series participant Vaessen Pioniers placed sixth, while national semi-finalists Corendon Kinheim and L&D Amsterdam came in seventh and eighth, respectively. The German Bundesliga’s runners-up, the Solingen Alligators, were ninth followed by a tie for tenth between Spanish victors Tenerife Marlins PC and Czech champs Draci Brno.
Elsewhere in the rankings, a dominant season from the Brasschaat Braves, in which the club went 32-3 en route to a national title, earned the team the highest ranking ever for a Belgian club (21st).
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.
- 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 2013 season is exclusively considered.
The mix 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.
Finally, please note, the Mister-Baseball Top 50 reflects only countries where enough data was available to calculate rankings. Most notably, Russia was missing this year as we lacked the data to include its teams in the rankings.
2007 Mister-Baseball European Top 50
2008 Mister-Baseball European Top 50
2009 Mister-Baseball European Top 50
2010 Mister-Baseball European Top 50
2011 Mister-Baseball European Top 50
2012 Mister-Baseball European Top 50
Countries covered: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Ukraine.