Home British baseball British Baseball Federation Board Secretary resigns

British Baseball Federation Board Secretary resigns

by Matt Smith

BbfLogoThe British Baseball Federation Board will be looking for a new Secretary after John Walmsley resigned at the end of last week.  The decision, taken “after serious deliberation”, leaves two major places on the Board vacant following Rob Rance’s resignation as President in May. Darrin Muller is currently filling Rance’s former role on an interim basis.   

Walmsley had been the Board’s Secretary for two and a half years, combining the role with that of President of Richmond Baseball and Softball Club.  His desire to dedicate more time to Richmond was one of several factors cited in his resignation letter to the BBF Board, which also included an outline of what he believes the sport needs to focus on to move forward.

“The level of conversation in the sport is too often dragged down to ‘he-said-she-said’ accusatory politics rather than addressing the key questions that I believe should be at the heart of the sport’s agenda for the coming decade:

How do we increase access for children and create a pathway from 5 to 25?
How do we improve coaching and umpiring standards?
How do we increase the numbers of women and girls playing baseball?
How do we create and strengthen more clubs to succeed?
How do we organise better leagues and tournaments?
How do we better market and promote the sport?
How do we build and maintain better fields and facilities?
How do we strengthen our place internationally – on and off field?
How do we act together to broker equipment and supplier agreements?”

Walmsley stated that he had “met many great people and had some wonderful experiences” as Secretary and signed off by wishing “all baseball participants well in their future endeavours both on and off field”.  He will continue to play an active role in British baseball as part of the Richmond club.

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Marty Gabel September 29, 2009 - 9:37 pm

I think we should elect Matt Smith.

Matt Smith September 29, 2009 - 10:33 pm

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Marty. Not sure the role is really for me though!

Adam Brown October 1, 2009 - 2:23 pm

John raises some interesting questions, which could really do with a public discussion. The three I think are most pressing are:

How do we increase access for children and create a pathway from 5 to 25?

There are a lot of guys in their early 20s around the country who played kids’ baseball and are talented baseball players… but are not playing baseball, they’re playing softball. This is mainly due to poor management of baseball over the last 20 years, and (comparatively) excellent management of softball. We have to act to ensure that this doesn’t continue – the problems link in with the other questions below. Actual investment, rather than just vague support, for university baseball is one way forward.

How do we create and strengthen more clubs to succeed?

It isn’t so much a lack of quality in this country that is the issue, rather a lack of quantity. All successful sports in this country have a pyramid structure, with a handful of high quality teams at the top, a huge number of recreation teams at the bottom, into which complete beginners can step without being totally overawed. Outside of the south, these teams are non-existent! Yet no-one at BSUK seems to recognise this huge problem. Every year hundreds of people give baseball a go, find it too intimidating, and either give up or go play softball.

How do we organise better leagues and tournaments?

Baseball suffers from several problems – long travel distances, no introductory level competitions, uneven contests, the boredom of playing the same teams over and over again. (No wonder softball are stealing all of our talent).
Clearly leagues divided by geography and playing standard are appropriate, followed by nationwide playoffs. I don’t think there is anything intrinsically wrong with the structure that about 15-20 more teams in the Midlands and North wouldn’t fix.


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