International Baseball Links
We at Mop Up Duty have written fairly extensively on International Baseball and with the World Baseball Classic on the not-too-distant horizon, links pertaining to this subject are beginning to pop up around teh interwebz.
The other day I was talking to my immigrant friend from the former Yugoslavia who was telling me they actually have a baseball team in Zagreb, Croatia. She explained it to me like this: do you know how many people play handball in North America? Basically the same amount in Croatia play baseball. Translation: not a lot.
I dug a little deeper into Croatian baseball just for curiosity’s sake, and came upon a fantastic website called Mister Baseball. This site tracks all the goings on of all baseball and softball leagues in Europe, from Austria to the Ukraine. In fact, it also lists the top 50 baseball clubs in all of Europe.
For those of you interested in European baseball, I know there are not a lot of resources on it, but you would be well served to read Baseball in Europe: A Country by Country History. I can’t say I have read it as of yet, but when I do expect a review on this very site.
Finally, with a tip of the hat to Keith Law, the International Baseball Federation has ranked the top 44 baseball nations, and not surprisingly Cuba reigns supreme. Canada ranks 7th, behind the Netherlands but ahead of Mexico (???) while the baseball hotbed of the Dominican Republic is ranked 19th. The methodology of the ranking system is rooted in a nation’s participation in recognized international tournaments, from the Olympics and World Baseball Classic all the way down to Under-16 Youth World Championships. The DR is hurt from lack of participation in these tournaments. It is still fun to see how all 44 nations have placed in tournaments the last 4 years. I am sure that with the release of this report that Cameroon will be looking to improve on its underachieving 43 ranking.
Coming soon (I hope) we will have a .pdf of our International Baseball series available for download to give you some background on the nations participating in the WBC and to get you “stoked”. It is only a month and a half away!