by Josh Chetwynd
Despite teams from the Italian Baseball League dominating inter-European club championship play, it’s the Dutch squad DOOR Neptunus that earned its second straight title in 2014 as the continent’s top ranked team in the Mister-Baseball Top 50. As was the case in 2013, Italian league clubs advanced to the finals of the European Champions Cup series as ASD Rimini Baseball and T&A San Marino prevailed in their Euro Cup tournaments. Rimini won that title, but with Unipol Bologna capturing the IBL crown (and Rimini earning the Coppa Italia) no one team from the circuit amassed enough points to upend Neptunus. Instead, Bologna, Rimini and San Marino finished, two, three, and four, respectively. The German Bundesliga champions, the Solingen Alligators, rounded out the top five.
As for Neptunus’ position, the club was certainly helped by its country’s gold medal result at the European Championships in September, which bolstered the nation’s overall strength rating (see below for more explanation on the annual rankings’ methodology). In addition, even though Neptunus lost in the finals of its European Cup event to Rimini, it helped mitigate that stumble by soundly defeating the Italians 17-3 during a 5-0 pool phase performance at the tournament.
Beyond the abovementioned, the Netherlands, Italy and Germany also dominated the rest of the top ten. Hoofdklasse runners-up L&D Amsterdam placed sixth, while Euro Cup silver medalists, Vaessen Pioniers, came in seventh. Germany’s vice-champions, Heidenheim Heidkoepfe, finished eighth and Italy’s ASD Parma took ninth. Corendon Kinheim, a semi-finalists in Holland’s playoffs, rounded out the top ten.
Elsewhere in the rankings, KNTU-Elizavetgrad (Kirovograd) came in at eighteenth, marking the highest-ever finish for a Ukrainian club in the rankings’ eight-year history. In nineteenth, Belgium’s K. Borgerhout Squirrels also set a new benchmark for that country.
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 2014 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
2013 Mister-Baseball European Top 50
|2||CNF Unipolsai Bologna||Italy||32.17|
|3||ASD Rimini Baseball||Italy||31.92|
|4||T&A San Marino||San Marino||30.17|
|11||Draci Brno||Czech Republic||24.17|
|12||Les Templiers de Senart||France||23.73|
|13||Tenerife Marlins P.C.||Spain||20.50|
|14||Kotlářka Praha||Czech Republic||19.92|
|15||Paris Université Club||France||19.83|
|17||Rouen Baseball 76||France||18.28|
|19||Eagles Praha||Czech Republic||17.67|
|K. Borgerhout Squirrels||Belgium||17.67|
|22||Arrows Ostrava||Czech Republic||16.67|
|23||North Stars Moscow||Russia||16.50|
|27||Olympic School 42 Moscow||Russia||15.00|
|28||Baseball Klub Nada SM Split||Croatia||14.25|
|32||Leksands Lumberjacks BSK||Sweden||12.42|
|33||Essex Arrows||United Kingdom||11.67|
|34||BK Apollo Bratislava||Slovakia||11.25|
|41||London Mets||United Kingdom||8.17|
|42||Juodasis Vikingas Vilnius||Lithuania||8.00|
|47||West Fire Rivne City||Ukraine||7.17|
|Almada White Sharks||Portugal|
Countries covered: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine.