By: Gabriel Fidler. Graphic by Swedish Baseball and Softball Association.
The Swedish Baseball and Softball Association (SBSF), led by the Youth Committee, will roll out Baseball5 in Sweden in 2021. Baseball5 in Sweden recently launched its brand new website, https://baseball5.se.
Baseball5 is a simplified street version of baseball and softball created by the WBSC to assist with grassroots sports efforts. In Sweden, it will also be featured in collaborations with schools and the hope is to include it in School Sports Associations (Skolidrottsförening). In 2021, the intention is to establish baseball5 as a concept, run some pilots, and develop plans to roll out the sport across Sweden in both indoor and outdoor facilities in 2022.
“The goal with Baseball5 in Sweden is increased movement in/at school, openness and inclusion as well as increased exposure and knowledge about baseball and softball in general,” noted the federation’s press release. “The project includes lots of investments to reach out to schools and meet today’s young people!”
The SBSF has partnered with NorthSideSports to design two uniforms for demonstration teams. It has also created two digital “teams” that feature in explanatory pieces on the website. Each has two “avatars” designed by “an Indonesian artist […] to give baseball5 faces in connection to Sweden“. On the yellow team are “Aurora” and “Ali”, while the black side consists of “Liza” and “Alex”. The four feature prominently on the website in explanations of the sport and underpin a focus on diversity and gender equality.
“Baseball5 stands for openness, community and diversity,” notes the website.
The first European Baseball5 Championship took place in March 2020, with France defeating Lithuania in the final. Both qualified for the next Baseball5 World Cup. Fifteen European countries have baseball national teams, including Baltic Sea neighbors Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. At least six other countries in Europe have introduced the sport and held events as well.