Home British baseball Great Britain confirmed for the 2009 Baseball World Cup

Great Britain confirmed for the 2009 Baseball World Cup

by Matt Smith

British baseball received a boost yesterday with the official confirmation that the national team will be taking its place in next year’s Baseball World Cup.  As previously reported, Britain had qualified for the tournament due to their excellent silver-medal showing in the 2007 European Baseball Championships, but their participation was put in doubt by the initial press release issued by the International Baseball Federation in September. 

The IBAF listed Great Britain and France together in group D when the preliminary round groups were initially announced.  This suggested that there was some uncertainty over which of the two teams would be involved and the fact that the IBAF’s press release states that Britain’s place has now been confirmed, something not deemed necessary for any of the other twenty-one teams, shows that this was the case. 

Thankfully, the reasons for the uncertainty have been resolved.  Great Britain can now look forward to competing against the might of Japan, the group D hosts Russia, and Nicaragua in the preliminary round of the competition.  The latter team are one of five who qualified for the World Cup via the recent Baseball Cup of the Americas competition.  They are joined by Mexico, Netherlands Antilles, Venezuela and the tournament winners Puerto Rico.

The news will come as a big relief to British baseball fans.  After missing out on the Final Olympic Qualifier earlier this year due to a lack of funds, it would have been extremely disappointing to see the team’s World Cup spot being handed to France.  Team GB now has a major international tournament to look forward to next year and a welcome source of hope at a time when baseball’s demotion from the 2012 London Olympics is starting to hit home.

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Joe Cooter October 11, 2008 - 4:46 pm

Congratulations. I hope you guys do well. It will be great for the game if the European teams do well in an event like this. Looking at your group I’m not sure how well you will be able to do but I think you guys might be strong contenders for atleast second in group. Japan is going to be difficult no doubt. Russia is a bit of a wild card and although Nicaragua has a nice tradition, the only really produced one good player at the major league level; Dennis “El Presidente” Martinez.

Joe Gray October 12, 2008 - 8:13 am

Nice spot Matt.

Joe, I tend to agree. You would imagine that Japan will be fairly comfortable at the top of the group, but Russia are very beatable, and, if GB can assemble their strongest squad, there’s no reason they can’t knock over Nicaragua. It has the potential to be as exciting, if not more so, than the Euros in 2007

Bob October 19, 2008 - 3:14 am

Hey Matt, I was looking at the field for the 2009 Baseball World Cup and was wondering… why is it that the Dominican Republic, one of the top 5 best baseball countries in world, not participating?

In fact, it seems like they never make an attempt to even attend the event…

Matt Smith October 19, 2008 - 10:18 am

Hi Bob. I’m afraid I don’t know either. They haven’t made it to the Baseball World Cup since 2001 and I’m not sure why they weren’t involved in the Americas Cup this year.

If you happen to find out, I’d be interested to know too!

Tim October 21, 2008 - 5:27 pm

Great Britain’s place in the 2009 World Cup is also confirmed on the official British Baseball website with input from the General Manager and Head Coach. The support for GB’s inclusion by IBAF Secretary-General John Ostermeyer is encouraging (although having secured its World Cup place fairly and squarely in the 2007 Euros there should be no other justification needed).

I don’t want to sound a bitter note – and I think it’s a brave and commendable move to hold the World Cup in Europe – but it would have been incredibly sad for GB to miss out on the IBAF’s European baseball bonanza given that it comfortably secured its place by the traditional method. With the expansion of the competition, a number of European teams which finished well below GB in the Euros had already been given World Cup berths by virtue of being one of the hosts. Italy had one of their worst European campaigns in ’07 but now don’t even have to go through the preliminary round of the World Cup because they are hosting the second round.

Matt Smith October 21, 2008 - 10:48 pm

I have to agree Tim. I was really shocked when I saw the preliminary entry list because I knew Team GB had qualified fair and square due to their excellent showing back in 2007. I’m delighted that Britain will be involved (particularly the prospect of them lining up against Japan), although it seems extremely unfair that the IBAF casted doubt on the issue in the first place.

Note for other readers: the official BBF website is:


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