Press release Baseball Softball UK
On June 28, 2019, the British sporting world was treated to a feast of events, with matches in the Women’s Football World Cup and Cricket World Cup, Wimbledon upcoming and, of course, Workout Day at the London Series. Only the keenest observer would have noticed that in Gillingham, Kent, a historic sporting first was achieved. That afternoon, Medway Park played host to the Kent and Medway Business Games (KMBG), where baseball5 was contested for the first time in the UK.
Baseball5 was officially introduced to the world in November 2017 in Cuba, with its official launch the following March. The game was designed by the World Baseball and Softball Confederation (WBSC) as a simplified version of baseball that could be played anywhere, using only a ball. There are five players on each team and the ball is hit with the hand instead of a bat. The official rules are available here.
Rapid growth for baseball5
The sport has taken off since its creation, with more than 120 events held in 52 different countries and regions. Baseball5 first appeared in the UK on May 20, making Britain the 49th nation to feature the sport. On that day, BaseballSoftballUK’s Liz Knight taught a clinic in preparation for the KMBG, with plenty of action alongside the instruction. In attendance were Kent Sport staff, representatives of local schools and workplace physical activity champions.
“We spent just under two hours in a sports hall running through background of the game, some rules, skills and then played,” noted Knight. “The group was great, very keen to learn and easy to work with.”
Vikki Bell, Sports Partnership Manager for Greenacre Sports Partnership is keen to introduce the sport to some of the secondary schools with whom they work. “Schools and workplaces are going to love this!”
Historic first competition
At the Business Games, two teams played a slightly adapted version of the game, with a time limit ensuring that all participants saw plenty of action. Kent Sport ran the event after attending the May clinic and were thrilled with baseball5’s inclusive and simple format.
“It was fantastic to see how quickly people who have no previous knowledge or experience of the sport were able to pick up baseball5,” remarked Tim Sells from Kent Sport. “We had a wide range of abilities amongst the teams, but the simplicity of having no equipment meant that all the participants were able to achieve successful results. The small playing area and fast pace of the game kept everyone engaged throughout and feedback was really positive.”
Organised by Kent Sport, in partnership with Medway Sport, the Business Games offer an afternoon of fun activities, team building, networking and healthy competition. The event is an opportunity for colleagues to come together, represent their workplace, try new sports, get active and have some fun outside the office. For more on this year’s Games, click here.
“Baseball5 was a great addition to our 5th annual Business Games,” noted Lucy Tomlinson, Event Organiser, Kent Sport. “With 20 Workplace Teams and over 150 participants taking part on the day, we’re always looking for fun, inclusive team sports which are easy to pick up and play. Baseball5 certainly met these criteria and everyone seemed to really enjoy having a go. Many thanks to BaseballSoftballUK for supporting the event and for introducing us all to Baseball5.”
Future plans for baseball5
The WBSC is the international governing body for baseball, softball, and baseball5. The organisation plans to introduce continental championships and a world cup for its newest discipline, according to a tweet from President Riccardo Fraccari on Jan. 30, 2019. A total of 14 European nations have hosted baseball5 events, while international tournaments have been hosted by Bulgaria, Colombia, Cuba, Italy, and Spain.
BaseballSoftballUK’s Development Managers Patrick Knock and Knight have played an instrumental role in bringing baseball5 to Britain with plans for further events under consideration. In particular, the goal is to introduce baseball5 as an urban format of the sport, particularly in areas or communities where space and resources are limited.
Photo courtesy of Kent Sport.