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Jan '08 16

Great Britain withdraws participation in Olympic qualifier

According to the Dutch website honkbalsite.com, the British Baseball and Softball Federation withdraw their participation at the Olympic qualifier next March in Taiwan. They gave up their berth due to financial reasons. The IBAF designated Germany as the successor.

Great Britain surprised at the European championship with a second place finish behind the Netherlands. Spain and Germany followed in third and fourth. The other teams at the last chance qualifier are Mexico, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Korea, South Africa and Australia. The first three will clinch the Olympics in Beijing.


  1. Comment by Peter Weber
    January 16, 2008 | 8:31 pm

    I don´t think that there are only financial reason. I doubt there is a problem for them to get a team together that will hav at least a chance to get in competition with the “weaker” teams.

    At the EC they had only merceneries from abroad (Australia, Kanada, the Rest of the Common Wealth) playing for Great Britain. Even the EC MVP Brant Ust was born in Belgium, played for Kanada allready and now was playing for Britain. I still can not understand why he was allowed to play because he did´nt was inaktive for a National Team longer than 2 years!

  2. Comment by dimitris
    January 16, 2008 | 8:48 pm

    I can only assume that according to previous anouncements the British government and more specific the ministry of sports the last two years more or so doesn;t support baseball and softball at all . From what I read the teams itself and the federation is struggling but with a lot of personal hard work they manage to do well . More or so what was happening in Greece the two years before and after the Olympics .
    My thoughts are like this . Their federation hoped that by bringing in the merceneries and getting a chance for the Olympics or at least the Qualifier they would get financial aid due to Olympic prospect . Now that their politicians don;t care they just withdraw .
    What did they expect , when they are the one;s who asked for baseball and softball to be out of olympic competition in the 2012 London Olympics

  3. Comment by Stephan Rapaglia
    January 17, 2008 | 1:17 am

    Great Britain has not withdrawn from the qualifier. In fact, we have committed to participating if sufficient funding can be arranged. Unfortunately, largely because we have no current financial support from the British government or the Olympic association, our chances of timely arranging such funding are low.

    If we are able to attend, it is true that our roster will be weaker than it was in Barcelona, but only for the same reason that most of the other participating teams’ rosters will be weaker (i.e., the scheduling of the event during spring training and the US college baseball season). As a result, several of our key players would be unavailable to us.

  4. Comment by Razzer
    January 17, 2008 | 3:17 pm


    Ust played for team USA in 2005 in Holland at the World Cup of Baseball. He did not play for Canada. Below is the rules which allowed him to play for GB

    The rule for player movement used to be two years but was changed to three years so the only way the player would be eligible to play for GB is his old Federation and Country to say it would be OK and then CEB would make a decision on the players eligibility.

    The entire GB program should be cancelled because all it has done is discriminate against some good young tallent that have had the door continually shut in their faces. They work hard every weekend and play and contribute to British Baseball and they are shoved aside for anyone who once had a long lost relative live here that has or can get a passport.
    As a former player and coach with the National team I am disturbed that it has come to this. They won’t compete because the dates are wrong for their mercenaries? If Stephan Rapaglia the performance director and head coach had a plan, he would realise that without the British players, there is no team other than a band aid solution. Just what was accoplished in Barcelona? Nothing other than showing the world that the British Baseball Federation has no direction and no players worthy of being on the National Team.
    CEB should place GB back into the B pool because that is where we belong and can compete instead of trying to survive the relegation zone of the A pool every two years.
    Rapaglia The BBF and BSUK Ltd seriously got this thing wrong because it has killed our domestic leagues all for trying to qualify for a sport that is never going to be put back into the olympics.
    Maybe some of these so called mercenaries if they really believe in the program will pay for the trip themselves, back in the day I used to pay out about £500.00 for the honour of representing GB and none of the players ever moaned about paying the money to our federation. We didn’t pull out of competition either.
    This is what happenes to your sport when money is invested by the government, we got £1.2 million pounds and all that has been done with this money is hire people who have no qualification or a clue about baseball. No money makes it to the teams or the grass roots because it all goes on salary.

    It is getting so bad here in the UK that we are considering leaving the federation because they are doing nothing for the sport

  5. Comment by anonymous
    January 17, 2008 | 4:31 pm

    That is such a bad view on the Great Britain Program.
    The Program has made such significant strides from a few years ago, where requirements were that you played on the head coaches team or you were friends with certain favourite players. During the old programme it didn’t matter how hard you worked, the teams had picked themselves before the tryouts. With the new program entering into the academy I personally have seen drastic changes, for the better of British baseball.

    ‘They work hard every weekend and play and contribute’ is that really enough though? To be working hard every weekend? Players in Germany and Italy work out everyday to become better baseball players. When you compare that with players who turn up at the weekend and ‘work hard’ by playing games, games are the fun part of baseball, its the hard work in-between games that will make the difference to British baseball on a National and Club level.

  6. Comment by anonymous
    January 17, 2008 | 5:57 pm

    To those that talk of merceneries: shame on you. Perhaps you are unaware that the majority of the Great Britain Baseball Team has been together for the European Championships in 2001, 2003, and 2005, yet where was the outcry then? Is is that you are truly concerned about the authenticity of our “Britishness”?, after all it is not excatly easy to become a British citizen, or is it that your are just sore about not placing as high as you would have liked in 2007?
    To the post that stated that the British team had accomplished nothing in Barcelona: shame on you as well. Is is not significant that a young generation of little leaguers looking on back in Great Britain were inspired to pursue and excell at baseball?
    To be honest, the lack of respect for our players, fans, coaches, and management team is disturbing. For a calm, rational person to sit down at a computer and mock everything that British baseball has done to try and expand youth league programs, improve infrastructure, and get baseball on the sports map in Great Britain is truly sad.

  7. Comment by Malc
    January 17, 2008 | 8:02 pm

    Hi anonymous. From your posting you are probably a member of the 2007 GB squad because you ask the question “Is it that you are truly concerned about the authenticity of OUR Britishness? It is interesting that you use the stars and stripes after your anonymous name not the Union Flag.

    Your last paragraph says ” mock everything that British baseball has done to try and expand youth league programs, improve infrastructure, and get baseball on the sports map in Great Britain is truly sad.” Let me tell you that Baseball in Great Britain in the period you refer i.e. 2001-2007 has gotten worse. We have less teams, less clubs and less players. The objective of BSUK – who by the way are NOT the Governing body in this country, the BBF is the Governing body – is to get as many kid’s to ‘try out’ days. There is not the club structure to take on the numbers of kid’s, so they don’t take the game up, they are just lost in a cloud of statistics. There are now less youth teams than there was in 2001. The infrastructure improvement you refer too is in chaos.

    Lets just get this straight, not one – that’s right – not one of the players on the 2007 squad played regularly in the GB league programme in 2007. How can you expect us to respect a bunch of players we have never seen.

    The GB programme is run totally independently of the Governing Body. It’s finances are not within the BBF budget or accounts nor that of the development organisation BSUK. It is therefore not accountable to nobody. How CEB can allow a team to play in it’s senior competition that is not controlled by it’s member Federation I will never know.

    The BBF has a bye-law which states, and this has been copied and pasted=
    11.1 All national team players must:
    · Meet CEB, IBA and Olympic nationality qualifications.
    · Be registered participants of the BBF.
    I reiterate the point – All national team players must be registered participants of the BBF.
    So tell me, do all of the squad of 2007 fulfil that bye-law. Were you a participant in Britain in 2007.

    The point is not how well did the team do in Barcelona but how good are the players for 2009 and 2011. If we do not have the funding to bring players from around the World in 2009 what is the point. How good is the junior team, how good is the standard of league in the home competition. I’ll tell you, and I have been in the game for 40 years. The standard of games in GB is worse than at any time in the past 10 years.

    I feel sad that a German and a Greek write a post calling us mercenaries. But know they are right and that is really sad.

  8. Comment by Anonymous
    January 18, 2008 | 5:22 am

    You know I didn’t really want to respond to all these insults against the GB program and the players who put their heart and soul into this program. I’ll tell you this and I’ll be honest with those of you who write about the structure, politics, along with your insults. I have been with the program since 1999 and have followed in the footsteps of my father who also played for GB. “How can you expect to respect a bunch of players you have never seen?” Well you know what there are players in the program that regardless of all the politics and BS play for the love of the game and because they are proud to be British. All I am saying is I have seen my Dad play for GB and have been part of that experience and being part of both worlds I know that not only myself but the players and staff are there for the right reason. I agree with you that the game within the UK needs to continue developing but that doesn’t necessarily mean the people involved with the GB program should be insulted or discredited for what has been accomplished. Regardless, in the end I think what everyone wants is what is best for the GB program. So if you ask me what was really accomplished in Barcelona?? In a long winded way I feel this is not even worth an answer and is extremely insulting to me, my teammates and especially my family.

  9. Comment by dviera78
    January 18, 2008 | 6:33 am

    Hi, I am Cuban and as such, I’m a great fun of international baseball. I have been reading the posts concerning the decision of Great Britain to withdraw from the last Preolimpic Tournament in March, despite having classified there with a second place finish in the European Preolimpic of Barcelona in 2007. I have seen how many of you have referred to the British Players as “Mercenaries” because most of them are not really British and were born outside of Great Britain. I don’t think that is a problem with GB only. In that same tournament there were Cubans playing for three differente teams: Spain, Italy and Germany. So I ask you, what do you guys think about the World Baseball Classic? In 2006 we saw teams like Italy with a great amount of Italian Americans playing for it, like Mike Piazza and Frank Catalonotto. In 2009 we might see the same with British, German, and Dutch Teams because MLB still has to choose who the other eight contenders will be. Even Israel has shown interest in playing at the next WBC with all its Jewish American players. In my own personal opinion, that would be great for the level of the competition, because all teams will be better off with these addtition. Now, from a national standpoint it might be controversial. So, what do you guys think about that?

  10. Comment by anonymous
    January 18, 2008 | 7:20 pm

    It seems to me that their are rules in place to determine who is allowed in the competition, and that no rules have been broken. The point of the EC’s are to have the best players who are eligible to play compete to determine the best team. As the previous poster has noted, their are other nations playing with players that have not lived their entire lives in the nation that they play for. That is not the point.
    Mercenaries implies payment by the way, and not one of the players for Great Britain was paid to come over to Barcelona, much to the contrary, many made extreme financial, marital, and familial sacrifices to play in that tournament. Also, 500 pounds is not going to get you flights, meals, and hotels for two weeks in Taiwan. Only a government or a large financial institution could possibly provide the resources to send a team to compete in this competition.

  11. Comment by anonymous
    January 18, 2008 | 11:40 pm

    Seems like everybody is being anonymous, so why not join them?

    SO, these players that are described as putting their heart and soul into the GB Program. If they are THAT committed and THAT keen to put so much of their valuable time and effort into the GB Program,


    If these players were as committed as everybody states they are, this would not be a problem, would it? Seems to me that these “Players” have other MORE IMPORTANT PRIORITIES. That does not sound very committed to me.

    Seems to me that somebody is either not telling the full details or are simply fooling themselves.

    As for the “Players” who are posting on here, why not get up off yer sorry ass and carry out what you CLAIM to be.

  12. Comment by Chris
    January 19, 2008 | 1:34 am

    I just wanted to wish Germany the best of luck in the Olympic Qualifier. With a healthy program at home, lots of players and a solid youth, junior and Academy program, the Germans will be a good representative of European Baseball in Taiwan. I do not doubt the “heart and soul” of the GB players who have travelled from North America to play for the GB Team, I just wished that they stayed in Europe to help contribute to the national program that desperately needs help.
    Being Swedish, our team finishing 6th in the Euro and almost beating GB, I am proud for the team’s effort. With two US-Swedes on the team they did fine. BUT… if they had the option of using 24 US-Swedes I believe that Sweden would NOT HAVE USED IT. The National Team has its name for a reason. Good luck, Germany!

  13. Comment by A-Non-E-Mouse
    January 19, 2008 | 3:32 am

    Good post Chris. The program in Germany is very good and they deserve an opportunity like this. I hope they do well.

    I can’t help think that what has happened to Great Britain is a very good example of what happens when you do not have a proper program and instead just rely on guests turning up when they can or when they feel like it.

    Clearly teams like Germany are being run by some people with a professional outlook on their operation.

  14. Comment by BBF registered participant
    January 19, 2008 | 3:48 pm

    How very anonymous of you

    You must be one of these so called baseball coaches we keep hearing about or a former player who just couldn’t make the team. At least you were correct about nothing and failed to make your point or rebut any of the arguments put forth by three people who at least have the balls to use their names and who all used the word mercenary to describe your National Baseball club because that what your coach and country think you have accomplished
    To sit at your computer and defend this is the only mockery taking place because even your own head coaches and your baseball academy say the same thing. Players may be invited to attend the academy but it is not a guarantee you will play for the GB team
    Here at the academy we will take your money and provide you with a hat and t shirt but you are not making the National team, those positions are for our overseas based players

    The British Baseball Academy is about learning the game and giving players more chances to reach their potential. It is not about playing for Great Britain, although existing Great Britain players will be encouraged, indeed expected, to attend because it will give them the best opportunity to practice and improve.
    Similarly, Academy players may be invited by Head Coaches to practice with, and perhaps play for, the GB national teams. Attendance at the Academy provides no guarantee of selection to GB Squads. Other opportunities for play will be evaluated as they arise and, if it is felt they provide a significant opportunity for development, plans may be made to utilise them.

    I love the American Flag anonymous poster who is Brad Marcelino by the way! Oscar would be so proud you hid behind a flag trying to defend your team and your coach.
    It is a little bit, sorry correct that, it is very embarrassing that your coach comes on here and denies the withdrawal to the point that he has lost any credibility he might have had. The Dutch broke the story first it is on numerous sites around the world and confirmed by the IBAF and your head coach Stephan Rapaglia and the governing body here in the UK deny or refuse to tell the membership the National Team has withdrawn?
    Just to let you and your team mates into a little secret, while you and this so called national team were enjoying your free trip to Spain last September, did you know that the members of the British Baseball Federation paid Rapagalia £ 6634.00, contributed another £ 4200.00 out of our fees we pay the governing body. This money should never been paid to you team or your coach because the BBF did not hire your coach. He was hired by Tom Gillespie who by the way was deported from the United Kingdom last December. Tom is a former employee of BSUK the softball people who a killing off baseball one team at a time. Maybe you can send a cheque to the members of the BBF because of you and your coaches our federation was taken advantage of because none of you played or contributed to the sport here in the UK.

    Your so called national team doesn’t even report to the Governing Body, but you and your UN friends want it this way. This academy is the property of the BFF and yet all the money going into it goes into a BSUK bank account and this governing body just sit back and do whatever they are told by BSUK.
    The whole baseball make up in the UK must be ripped up and started over because of this International embarrassment caused by this NATIONAL Team and the Governing Body for Baseball in the United Kingdom for allowing you to get away for it since the creation of BSUK

  15. Comment by Blax345
    January 23, 2008 | 2:06 am

    In my opinion, players should only be able to represent the country that they were born in. Italy at the WBC had many american players in the team, which i think is hugely unfair. Its detrimental to other countries who chose to use homegrown talent, who they have developed for countless years. If countries are allowed to poach players from other countries, where is the incentive to develop home grown players? If you are not good enough to play with your home grown players, that is just tough.

  16. Comment by Jonathon Cramman
    January 23, 2008 | 3:53 pm

    Those of you who suggest that the great britain senior team is made up of ‘mercenaries’ from across the globe clearly have never spoken to a member of the roster. At the end of last year I was speaking to one such member and he told me that the shirt was worn with pride whether they were from London, Bracknell or California. The fact reamins that with a majority of british born and bred players we would be in the B POOL, we would not be the second best nation in the europe. Does that mean that Lennox Lewis was not a british world heavyweight champion? Owen Hargreaves? Greg Rusedski? Kevin Peitersen? The players should not be blamed UK SPORT should be blamed. They pump money into Football, Rugby, Cricket and athletics but they cannot spare £40000 pounds?? The fact is that last year uk sport spent £28,000,000 on a national sports centre that still isn’t open. (Apparently they didnt want Heyford, I cant see why?) Blame the anti-americanism in uk sport not the americans on the squad.

  17. Comment by baseball guy
    January 23, 2008 | 7:02 pm

    The four people you have used as an example of world class athletes is absurd, they all were or are professional athletes. Two of them are Canadian citizens which excludes your cricket player who still is classed as a professional from SA. That leaves Owen, Lennox and Greg WHO have represented Canada before they came to the UK.
    Ask yourself just what have these people contributed to Tennis, Boxing, Cricket and Football on the amateur level?
    The problem is not with UK Sport, these problems were created by people who are killing this minority sport because they refuse to limit the number of non EU players on the field at any one time. Every country in Europe restricts these players because it hurts domestic leagues.
    How many players from the National team live in the UK?
    How many of these players play in the UK leagues?
    How many of the players contribute to the sport in the UK?
    The Governing Body has specific rules for National Team players and being a registered participant is just one condition that is not being met or followed by these players.

    Money was offed to the team from the BOA and also the IBAF. It was refused because the coach would not use British based players because they in his own words they don’t get to compete in the euros or international events like the big O qualifier. That is why the team is not going. The coach just stops short of blaming the IOC and everyone else because he can’t use his 10 pros or college players because school is back in session and spring training has started. He knew this going in to Spain as did everyone who follows the National team.

    Upper Heyford needs to be raised to the ground due!
    If more than .50p was invested in this dump, it would be roughly .49p too much

  18. Comment by Alex Smith
    January 23, 2008 | 7:49 pm

    To Baseball Guy,

    My name is Alex Smith and I have represented Great Britian in the European Championships in 2001, 2003, 2005, and 2007. I was born in London to parents who were utilitzing the excellent graduate schools of Great Briatin in order to further their careers. Yes, I live in the United States, but I have always worn the Great Britain jersey with pride and have represented the country well having pitched in 12 international matches at the Euros. I have personally been on the hill to keep Great Britain in the A pool and have taken my responsibility to represent the nation of Great Britain seriously.
    I would like to say that yes, it was helpful to have three professional players help us out in Spain. Yes, it was beneficial to have college players with us. There were 0 college players starting in the field in Spain and 0 that started any games as a pitcher.

    I would like to counter your position that we counted on college and pro players. Of the starting 9 players on the field in Spain only three would not be able to attend in March. Also, of the pitching staff, only one would not be available to pitch.

    Also, you state that they “refuse to limit the number of non EU players on the field at any one time.” All of our players have British passports, so I don’t understand that comment.

    Many other teams such as Germany and the Netherlands, should they have played in March, would not have had at least 4 players due to their participation in professional or college leagues. That is a good thing for European baseball.

    As for contributin to the amateur leagues. It is vital to have a long term plan to improve baseball in Great Britain. It takes time. For those youth baseball players that watched us play in Spain and beat great teams such as France and Spain and watch us play in the final game with the Olympics on the line it was surely an inspirational moment. One that would not have happened in the B pool as it would not be televised. If we want baseball to catch on in Great Britain it is going to be that young group of 8-12 year olds that must do it. For those that are 15, it is very difficult to improve fast enough to compete at the A pool level in Europe.

    What I am saying is that it is going to take a generation of ball players coming up to take the reigns. Being inspired by beating rival nations at the highest level is the only way to sway kids away from other sports that are televised and are more popular in British culture. I can tell you as a youth it was my desire to be like the guys on TV that motivated me to get where I am today.

    I mean no spite or anger towards the writer. I only ask you to back off the personal attacks made towards our coach and our players.

    I have played baseball professionally, where I was paid. When it comes to Great Britain, I am no mercenary. I have attached my name to this statement because I believe in what I say and no qualms about stating that. Can you say the same?

  19. Pingback by BaseballGB » Blog Archive » Great Britain officially withdraw from Olympic qualifier
    January 23, 2008 | 9:32 pm

    […] Rumours had been spreading for a week or so, longer if you include the initial reports that Team GB were struggling to come up with the funds to pay for the trip.  Now it has been confirmed: Great Britain has withdrawn from the final Olympic qualifier set to take place in March.  Germany will take Team GB’s place. […]

  20. Comment by Alex Malihoudis
    January 25, 2008 | 11:17 am

    Bradley Marcelino
    Darren Heath
    Alex Smith
    Aeden McQueery-Ennis
    Tom Stack-Babitch
    Gary Tongue

    …to name a few who were born in England, and Brant was born in Belgium but lived in the UK from 6 months old till 10 years.

    I was born in Greece but am British. Should I not be allowed to play for GB, yet Alex Smith (born in Britain, American accent) should be allowed? What constitutes a “real” Brit? Where do you draw the line? Well, CEB draws it at qualification for a British passport, and that’s fine by me. But that’s not everything. I draw my line at the attitude shown by a player when he takes the field. You should have seen the pride at which Josh Chetwynd wore that Great Britain jersey. He put to shame so many people born in this country. And I can’t speak for Smith but you should have seen how much it meant to him when he took the mound to close out the game against Spain.

    Whether you agree with the strategy of bringing in advanced players or not, all of them legitimately qualified for a passport, and Stephan Rapaglia only ever had the best interests of British baseball at heart. Not the National team, but “British baseball”. Success = money = development of the grass roots, it’s quite simple really. I would personally like to see more kids raised on the British game pushing for the national team, but we have to shoulder some of the responsibility ourselves, just like I did when I was cut from this year’s team. Could I have put in more work? Probably. Sacrifices have to be made to play at that level, and I am glad to see that young players like Jon Cramman and Michael Trask, to name a few, are making those sacrifices. One thing I can’t accept is people coming on here bad-mouthing individuals who really care about baseball in this country. Stephan is only too familiar with sacrifice, but he is always willing. Go and speak to some GB youth players and ask them what Tom Gillespie has done for them over the years.

    One last thing, we didn’t pull out of this tournament, we simply ran out of time getting together the funds and were replaced by the organisers.

    Anyway, rant over. It would be nice for more people to express their opinions without slagging people off.

  21. Comment by Jonathon Cramman
    January 25, 2008 | 4:13 pm

    To baseball guy would you prefer a team with Americans to come second in the A pool or a team full of british guys which would inevatibly come nowhere in the B Pool. I have been a member of the great britain acadademy for about 5 years now and have seen HUGE improvements from players coaches and work put in by people. When i went to lithuania in 2006 we had a head coach from australia and assistant from germany and our ace was south african. Does that mean that we were still not GREAT BRITIAN they pulled that jersey on with great pride.
    Tom Gillespie was my head coach last year with the juniors and i learnt a lot from him, I was born in london bred in london but an american made me better, does that mean i should not play for GB? In march im moving to america to play high school baseball and better myself as a player does that mean i should not play? How do you become british?

  22. Comment by Will Lintern
    January 26, 2008 | 12:00 am

    A person once told me that people most often get angered by people or actions that most remind them of the things they least like about themselves.
    Having been a long time participant of British Baseball; competing in the Youth League, Division 1 & 2, the National League and the GB Youth team, I believe that baseball in Britain is on the cusp of being the best it has ever been.
    It has been mentioned that baseball has deteriorated over the past ten years, let me remind you that ten years ago we used metal bats, the standard would obviously ‘appear’ higher. The best years were 2001 and 2002, the launch of the RNL. During these years many of the teams had their rosters supported by foreign players, these players served to increase the standard of play and work with/develop the teams they played on, especially the youth. Since this pool of talent has diminished, so has the level of play in the UK.
    However, the future lies with our youth. Baseball is a game for the young, not just because it requires tremendous athleticism but because it with them that lies the future of the game we love so dearly. Having recently visited a couple of Academy sessions I can safely say that the pool of talent about to burst onto the adult scene is greater than I have ever seen. Better than two years ago, and considerably better than 10 years ago.
    How many people out there can honestly stand up and say they have put more effort into the development of Youth Baseball in the UK than Tom Gillespie…certainly not I.
    There was once a man who gave his entire life to British Baseball. His club dominated the top level of baseball, running three adult teams (as part of a franchise) and two successful youth programs. Having acquired the best facility in the country he did not stop there. Hiring a PR group for the team, local radio stations broadcast the games, and the team appeared at various publicity events. Then it fell apart. Not because of lack of effort on his part, but when he looked out across the baseball landscape of the UK he realised nothing had changed. Despite his best efforts no else cared, no one else was pushing the development of their youth to same degree, no one else was helping lower level teams with funding for new uniforms and better facilities. That man was Craig Savage.
    How many people out there can even come close to the amount of time and personal sacrifice that Savage gave to this game.
    Perhaps instead of attacking members of the GB Coaching Staff, Team Players and Academy Members, we should all use this time to look within ourselves, evaluate the efforts we have put into baseball. How would the game be different if we were all a little bit more like Craig Savage. How would our Youth programs be if we cared as much about their development as Tom Gillespie.
    If everyone put more energy into bettering themselves, and stop blaming other people for their failings, because really, if baseball in this country has been ruined in this country, then we have no to blame but ourselves.
    Now, on the back of success, because as Alex said success = money = development. We can take British Baseball to new heights. With a new surge of talent coming up through the ranks, a higher percentage of whom wish to go to an American colleges/universities to improve their skills, we can all make a difference. So long as we choose to do so and stop pointing fingers.

  23. Comment by Josh Chetwynd
    January 29, 2008 | 3:06 am

    I just wanted to post some thoughts regarding a few statements in this thread that I believe are misconceptions:

    1. The opportunity for British-based players to represent Great Britain at the senior level is blocked by the influx of foreign-trained players.

    In 2007, 48 players represented GB in five different events. Numerous born-and-trained British players were among those nearly 50 athletes. Granted, in one event, the European Championships, the squad was almost completely comprised of players who were trained outside of the United Kingdom. But does that mean that a player only represents Great Britain if he plays in the Euros? I competed in five European Championships and played countless other games for Great Britain – from friendlies against Sweden and Ireland to contests in major tournaments like the GBO and Prague Baseball Week. It meant just as much to me to represent Great Britain in the smaller events as in the big ones. It should – and I suspect that it does – mean just as much to the likes of Scotland native Euan Shields or London’s Marcus Simpson to wear the GB uniform and earn a cap at the senior level whatever the event.

    2. Foreign-trained GB squad members at the 2007 Euros had no real connection to baseball in Great Britain.

    A large number of the 2007 silver medal winning squad has played domestic baseball in the UK. Alex Malihoudis and Stephen Brown played their formative years in Great Britain; Roddi Leibenberg and Adam Roberts have played numerous years for UK domestic sides (In addition, Roberts previously coached the GB cadet team); Ian Young (Windsor Bears), Sam Whitehead (Croydon Pirates) and Aeden McQueary-Ennis (Richmond Flames) have all played full seasons in British domestic leagues; and Darren Heath and Gary Tongue both logged games for the Brighton Buccaneers as did Mitch Evans with the London Warriors. In addition, Bradley Marcelino and Brant Ust both played youth baseball in Great Britain. Finally, Brian Essery will be moving his family to London to play for the London Mets in 2008 so that he can “give back” to baseball in Great Britain. In other words, a majority of GB’s so-called “mercenaries” in Barcelona had legitimate experience on British soil.

    3. Having a large contingent of foreign-based players in the GB programme does nothing for the domestic game.

    Some have suggested that having top-notch foreign-based players offers aspirational value to British-based players. I believe there is a more tangible worth. When younger British-trained players like Gary Davison got to play with a more experienced foreign-based player like Ian Young in a series against Johns Hopkins University this past summer two things happen. First, there was an opportunity for the likes of Gary (or other young British-based players who were on that GB roster like George Lintern or Ryan Trask) to pick Ian’s mind and gain advice and knowledge. Second, it allows those younger players to see first-hand what it takes to play at the highest level in European competition. Obviously, more would be ideal, but surely this interaction must have some direct value?

    There is no doubt that British baseball faces numerous hurdles. Moreover, in the best of all possible worlds (at least from the British perspective) it would be ideal if all or at least a majority of the players who represent Great Britain at the Euros were born-and-trained on the British Isle. Nevertheless, the national team’s use of foreign-based players is not nearly the biggest problem in British baseball – it is just a symptom of reality: Most notably, the sport’s struggle in Great Britain. Baseball has been around longer in the UK than any other European country (1874). Despite that it lags behind.

    Ultimately, how to approach the GB national team (as long as it meets CEB/IBAF rules) is a policy issue that probably should be played out amongst the coaches, the BBF membership and the federation – and not on a chat board. (And certainly, in my opinion, not with the vitriol and personal attacks used here.) Certainly, the players and coaches who performed so admirably on the field in Barcelona for GB should be lauded. Whatever their background, they played some great baseball against some very strong competition. The bottom line here was to suggest that this situation may not be as black-and-white as some suggest.

  24. Comment by A-Non-E-Mouse
    February 9, 2008 | 6:22 pm

    No way can “HE” have the last word.
    No matter what happens now, no matter who thinks what, no matter who decides what should happen next, lets all be truthful here.
    THE ONLY WAY IS DOWN. Be that Leagues, Divisions or Groups, this IS what will happen next.
    Whether it is money, player availability or some other ‘Excuse’ this IS where you will be going, so get used to it.


  25. Comment by Liam Carroll
    February 11, 2008 | 6:25 pm

    Stephan, thanks for stepping up to the plate as the head coach of the national team and making a post here. Lots of people would have chosen to either stay away or use a psuedonym.

    Jonathon, you must surely be the youngest poster on this site. I have seen you mature emotionally and intellectually a great deal over the last 3 years, which is a testament to the positive, nurturing atmosphere that is provided by the Great Britain programme. I am very proud that our programmes are making such positive differences to the lives of so many young men throughout the country.

    Alex S, thanks for standing up for the guys who, though they live in different parts of the world, bleed British colours. I think about the commitment that such great people such as yourself have made – please correct me if I am mistaken, but I believe that you have now played in FIVE European Championships, throughout which we have remained in Europe’s top group and now have qualified for a World Championship place. That is a tremendous accomplishment which should be recognised as a massive commitment of time and energy, and a great deal of sacrifice, which has been made not only by yourself but other overseas based Brits who have contibuted so much to our programmes. Mercenary? I think not. I am so very thankful to guys like you who have inspired guys like me to find every way to maximise my abilities.

    Alex M, thanks for showing us that residence and place of birth are not the only measures of one’s nationallity. You are an inspiration to many, and are the epitomy of class.

    Will, you are a voice of reason, and I appreciate that you have stood up for those that have worked tirelessly to develop British baseball. Those who have been involved in the Great Britain programmes that you have referred to are being cast under a shadow by some that post here, when what they deserve is our thanks and our support. Let’s ask them what we can do for them to continue working for us, rather than chas them away.

    Josh, thank you for providing hard evidence. Your contributions to British baseball on so many levels is phenomenal. I feel very priviliged that British baseball enabled me to meet you, become teammates, and become friends. It’s a wonderful thing that the Great Britain programme has done for us and so very many others.

    I am very proud that my teammates, colleagues and friends that have posted above have each introduced who they are and subsequently presented impassioned, accurate posts. You are evidence of a Great Britain programme that continues to grow, continues to evolve, and is going in the right direction.

    I’ve often been told by a friend to ignore forums such as this, that I should stay in my “area of influence.” At this time, however, I find that very hard to do, because I think my finger is on the pulse.

    My involvement in Great Britian baseball began in 1996; less than some, longer than others. I am thankful for the lessons learned and relationships made. All of them. I am happy to see some new people involved and sad to see some faces that have faded from the scene. Right, wrong or indifferent, that is a part of life.

    I am certain that those involved now are on the right path; that they have the best interests of British baseball at heart, that they have a vision, and a plan to achieve that vision. These are valuable (priceless, I would say) people, who are part of a valuable future.

    I’ll let Al Pacino steal my thunder here, rather than try and be eloquent.

    “It’s a valuable future. Believe me. Don’t destroy it! Protect it. Embrace it.”

  26. Comment by Mick-E-Mouse
    February 12, 2008 | 12:34 pm

    It is with no surprise that the two people doing the self praising are indeed employee’s of Baseball Softball UK. Is this just an oversight or a deliberate attempt to mislead the readers?
    Mr Carol also is BBF board member which in itself is a major conflict of interest and just another example of the contradiction of each other.
    Mr. Chetwynd also pipes up
    Quote: “Ultimately, how to approach the GB national team (as long as it meets CEB/IBAF rules) is a policy issue that probably should be played out amongst the coaches, the BBF membership and the federation”
    How admiral of him with all his baseball insight, the same Mr Chetwynd sat on the British Baseball Federation board and not once in any of the recorded minutes have we read where he believes that this National Team made up from the United Nations pool or pond should be decided by the coaches the board and or the membership.
    The only reason its never mentioned is because Mr. Chetwynd was a complete failure as a board member, his attendance record bears this out. Why else did he resign?
    It is also so convenient that every player who posted here ignored the BBF bye-laws where it clearly says all national team players must be registered participants of the BBF. It is not just about Ceb or Iba eligibility, or has your egos surpassed the governing body rules?
    This program is going nowhere but back to the members and the qualifying pool because that is where it belongs.


  27. Comment by Donna McQueary
    February 15, 2008 | 11:42 pm

    My, what bitterness.

    Under the cover of Keyboard Anominity, one can attack anyone associated with the National Team and still suggest that it’s their egos that are somehow to blame? Come clean, pseudonym posters.

    Then perhaps be clearer about what you would like to see British baseball become, rather than just engage in criticism.

    By the way, the ‘free trip to Spain’ wasn’t, and cost more than 500 quid. If you actually think commitment is playing baseball/working hard ‘every weekend’, you have so little idea of what it takes to be a ballplayer, I’m amazed you’re interested in the sport.

    And to ‘anonymous’ who acutally said:

    “Seems to me that these “Players” have other MORE IMPORTANT PRIORITIES. That does not sound very committed to me….As for the “Players” who are posting on here, why not get up off yer sorry ass and carry out what you CLAIM to be.”

    Yes, the British players who play in US colleges and the minor leagues do have other priorities. Please, sir, have you given up your education or your job for British baseball? That’s what you’re asking these men to do because of the timing of the Taiwan tournament.

    And their ‘sorry asses’ are just a little busy right now: 6am weights, 8am – 1pm classes, 2pm – dark practice, then studying, 5 days a week, plus on the field all day Saturday. Or 14 hour days 7 days a week at ST in Florida or Arizona, competing for that 8% chance that they might make the majors, in full knowledge that they’re a few months away from 1500 guys being hired to potentially take their place AND if they’d like to blow it off for a sidetrip to Taiwan, there’s 500 Free Agents who will take their position right now and thank you very much. That, sir, is the reality of being an Actual Player.

    But, if you weren’t good enough to have the opportunity to play at a college in the US or the pro’s, I guess sniping away at the National Team is, at least, an option for you.

  28. Comment by Jonathon Cramman
    February 25, 2008 | 1:31 pm

    After my last post i promised myself i would not post again because i did not belive the ignorance i was hearing but the post from mick-E-mouse didnt just piss me off it really angered me. He talks about two guys Liam Carrol and Josh Chetwynd. I have known Liam for three years now and he is currently my Head Coach on the gb national team, Anybody who know Liam knows he lives, eats, breathes and sleeps british baseball, yes hes a board member but trust me buddy thats a good thing. I can say ive been extremely lucky th have the coaches i’ve had Gerald bolden, Eric s, Gavin marshall, brad doss, tom gillespie they’ve all been fantastic for me but i can hoestly say none of them have helped me like Liam. Then you go on to try and attempt to ‘get at’ Josh Chetwymd. I won a national Championship this year and if it wasnt for Josh it would not have happened. Callum Woods, George Lintern, Ben Moore, Alex phipps, Jonathon Cramman and ettienne savary all BRITISH and all national champions because of his contribution. I regret that i have to say this but mick-e-mouse dude i belive your one of those british guys who were never good enough but never did anything about it just complained about everything else. I was like that hey guess what liam carroll showed me the way im done now if youre gonna reply use your name dude thank you

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