by Josh Chetwynd
Curacao Neptunus earned top honors in the 2017 Mister-Baseball Top 50 thanks to a combination of capturing the Netherlands’ national title and winning Europe’s top club event, the Champions Cup. The distinction marked the fourth time – along with 2015, 2014 and 2013 – that Neptunus has secured the number one spot in these rankings. T&A San Marino finished second in the Top 50, despite missing out on hardware throughout the year. The club’s strong second-place performance in the Italian Baseball League (both in the regular season and the playoffs) along with its bronze medal showing at the Champions Cup, allowed it to sneak by Italian national title holders ASD Rimini, which placed third due to a lackluster regular season in its domestic circuit and a fifth place showing in the Champions Cup. Rounding out the top five were Dutch vice champs, L&D Amsterdam in fourth place and, in fifth, Unipolsai Bologna, which won the silver in the Champions Cup, but failed to make the finals at home.
Leading off the second half of the top-10 were Draci Brno in sixth place. By capturing both the CEB Cup trophy and a domestic title, the Czech club matched last year for its highest showing ever in the Top 50. Also notable: Germany’s Bundesliga runners-up, the Bonn Capitals, finished eighth, marking the first time that club has ever placed in the top-10. Sandwiched in between those two teams in seventh were the German title winners, Heidenheim Heidekopfe. In ninth place were Italian semi-finalists Angel Service Gruppo Nettuno and the French champions Rouen Baseball 76 placed 10th.
History was made elsewhere in the rankings. Belgium’s K. Borgerhout Squirrels became the first team from that country to crack the top twenty, coming in at 17th. The club had a standout year, winning both a domestic championship as well as securing the Federations Cup. A little lower down, Athletics Attnang-Puchheim placed 26th, which was the highest spot ever for an Austrian team.
As in years past, these rankings, which are now in their 11th year, 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 2017 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, please note, the Mister-Baseball Top 50 reflects only countries where enough data was available to calculate 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
2014 Mister-Baseball European Top 50
2015 Mister-Baseball European Top 50
2016 Mister-Baseball European Top 50
Countries covered: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine.