By British Baseball Federation, www.britishbaseball.org
GB Baseball is pleased to confirm that an All-Star Game between our GB Lions and the National Baseball League’s best will be played on Sunday 29 May at Farnham Park. Following the game, youth players will be invited onto the field for a free clinic run by national team players and coaches.
All-Star games are nothing new for British Baseball, and this year’s will build on the success of the “GB All-Star Series” launched by former National Teams Programme Official Marty Cullen. Farnham Park’s opening ceremony in 2013 featured a game between the GB Lions and an NBL All-Star team, and the year before BBF Pony, Double-A and NBL teams faced off with GB teams at Finsbury Park as part of a national team fundraiser that included a fire walk organised by Jo Ratcliff. Farther back, adult national championship weekends used to feature North versus South All-Star games.
For this year, we’re investing our resources into planning and delivering a great game-day experience for both teams with a single nine-inning contest, but in the years to come we expect a return to bigger events, including adding other age groups within GB Baseball (and a broader spectrum of the BBF playing and coaching community) and utilising Farnham Park’s facilities to the full.
These events are a great way to reward the best players and coaches in British baseball and to provide evaluation and preparation opportunities for our national team players, and my hope is that the wider community will share in celebrating both of those things. From MLB through the Minors and then in leagues around the world, All-Star games are popular and successful events and, more specifically, contests between national teams and the league’s best players are common. I’m looking forward to seeing how adding our own twists can make a BBF Midsummer Classic an annual success.
Erick Henson will lead the All-Star team. In 2015 Erick led the London Mets to their third NBL Championship and first since 2008. The dominant Mets also captured the regular season title and won the BBF South Cup. Stay tuned for announcements on Erick’s roster and coaching staff, as well as on the umpires selected to work the game.
The GB Lions are part of the National Team Development Programme, and this game will provide a high-level opportunity for Lions’ players to be evaluated before selections are made for September’s European Championship and World Baseball Classic Qualifier.
Events like this one are part of our mission, which includes inspiring participation in and support of our programme, so it would be great to see you out at Farnham Park on 29 May.
The schedule will be:
11.10 am — GB Lions batting practice
11.55 am — NBL All-Stars batting practice
1.30 pm — First pitch
Entry will be free for spectators and food and drink will be available for purchase.