The BBF’s Annual General Meeting takes place in London this Saturday (15 December).
The AGM pack is available on the BBF website, revealing that alongside the usual AGM points of order there will be discussions on the format of competitions (such as the national championships) and 2019 operations more generally, including preparations for the 2019 MLB London Series.
As stated on Monday, the London Series offers a unique opportunity for British clubs to benefit from some rare baseball publicity in the mainstream media, so pooling ideas and resources on how to capitalise on this is a good idea.
The rules proposal from Guildford Baseball Club within the AGM pack isn’t directly tied to this, but it could be.
It’s the perennial question for British baseball: what’s the best playing format to attract and retain newcomers in a landscape with a relatively small number of clubs (affecting how easily you can play regularly without significant travel commitments) and where the core skills learnt as kids Stateside can’t be taken for granted from young – and not so young – adults?
Guildford’s proposal is based on their belief that the current format (essentially standard rules baseball) isn’t proving to be conducive to growing the game and that whilst it would be preferable to stay as true to the MLB version of the game as possible, compromises to this are worth making if it makes for a more enjoyable experience for those new to the sport.
The proposal is not so much a definitive new structure and rule book but a group of well-considered ideas to prompt debate. Plenty of clubs across Britain put great effort into attracting new players with taster sessions and they are precisely the sort of thing that might get a small boost from the London Series. However, having opportunities for those newcomers to build on their initial interest is vital.
That makes it a good time to think carefully about the way in which Single-A baseball works in Britain, so it will be interesting to see how the conversation develops following Guildford’s proposal.