International Baseball Federation (IBAF) released a series of updates
on the progress of baseball’s growth across Europe,
and the efforts all partners are putting towards growing the game. All
indicators, from professional players playing abroad to the increase in clinics
and participation in Little League, show that the sport is growing at its
fastest pace ever in Europe as the Baseball
World Cup approaches in early September.


efforts that our federations are making to grow the sport at the grassroots
level, as well as all the time our partners are putting in to help us tell our
story, are being positively reflected in our growth globally,” said IBAF
President Dr. Harvey Schiller. “We are especially pleased with the growth that
we are seeing in Europe leading up to this
September’s World Cup. It is a very exciting time to be involved in the sport.”


Some of
the points that are reflective of the growth of baseball in Europe


* Over 40
players from no less than nine European countries (England, Portugal, Spain,
the Czech Republic, Italy, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, and France) are
currently playing in the North American major and minor leagues – the highest
number ever.


* Initial
reports from Little League baseball, working with the European Baseball
Confederation (CEB), are showing an increase in enrollment of over 10% for boys
and girls playing Little League baseball across the continent.


* Major
League Baseball recently completed its European
Academy tryouts in six countries, and
will be working with the CEB and IBAF to conduct coaching and player clinics in
ten countries (Czech Republic,
France, Germany, Israel,
Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal,
Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom) throughout summer
and early Autumn and into 2010.


* The
not-for-profit group Pitch in for Baseball recently completed its first-ever
equipment giveaway and clinic in Iraq,
and plans extensive equipment programs throughout Europe
up to Autumn.


* The
IBAF unveiled the first two of a series of country-specific baseball websites, and, geared to provide all
information regarding baseball in the respective countries, with additional
sites coming in the next few weeks.