If a Tree Fell in the Forest…?

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What if the South African Baseball held its 2014 National Championships in Durban and no one in the world baseball community knew about it? Would it make a sound? No information was available on rosters, fixtures, results or notable performances? What if the only images of this important event in the South African baseball calendar were protected and posted on an obscure Facebook page called Kzn Photos?

If I was a top baseball prospect in South Africa, I would be livid? Despite numerous offers of assistance and logistical support for an online presence for baseball in South Africa, the myopic officials steadfastly keep our talent pool in the baseball wilderness.

To quote their own charter, the South African Baseball Union is the National Sporting Organisation (NSO) responsible for the administration, conduct, control, development and promotion of the sport of baseball in South Africa. I think they regularly miss the opportunity to promote not only the sport, but also its top prospects. We need to Utilise the national competition to underpin and grow the professional and international opportunities for baseball players, coaches, scorers, scouts, umpires, officials, administrators and executives. The ideal metrics to measure our national success is the the number of players maintaining professional baseball contracts (currently eight), the results the national team achieves at benchmark events and the team statistics at international events. To achieve the goals above, our players need exposure to the international scouting community, and this might be as simple as published biographies of each player participating in the IRT, readily available statistics, simple videos of individual performances and interviews and effective communication of events.

Nobody is suggesting that hordes of scouts are going to hop on planes to attend the South Africa National Championships, especially since we insist on holding the event during the MLB baseball season, but we could do an infinitely better job of bringing that event to the scouting community. Major League Baseball is going to extraodinary lengths to grow the game internationally and uncover potential talent. Disney is even making movies and holding competitions related to the quest to find the next Million Dollar Arm.

We continue to lag far behind the efforts and results shown by other countries where baseball was not a major sport. We need to step up to the plate without delay.

BaseballSA

5 thoughts on “If a Tree Fell in the Forest…?”

  1. Talk as much as we want, but no one cares at SAbu. Elite final takes place at 08h00 on a work day! How are we ever going to attract spectators? We have so many opportunities to play international ball, but never put plans in place to create the opportunity for our players yet we expect to be competitive at wbc, go figure!

  2. Just maybe the final was held at a time for the Juniors to be present to watch and be inspired to play better and harder. I have only been involved for a few years, but, already know roughly when the various events are due, I don’t need to be told, invited and so on. Being involved at club level upwards we all heard when the final dates were and advertised on various pages, including SA Baseball. Now I am told that the NPC will be used for the selecting of various touring teams, both in bound and out. A very positive move for once as we can all see who the players are and their level of commitment. I for one will be watching the selections very closely to see that they abide by that ruling and will raise hell if SABU does not abide to that.

    My 2c worth

  3. Unfortunately, it’s all about the “power” of SABU…….they have always been this way: the last thought seems to be about having the best interests of the players uppermost. No different to most sport administrators. But I admire your spirit in protesting this….keep going and who knows, maybe someday, someone will listen and will make a difference! FYI……..yes: “been there and done this” :-).

  4. Good Luck Howard…….again, your optimism is to be admired. I look forward to hearing the outcome of “raising hell”.
    A point to mention……..the only way this sport can grow is to awaken interest in those who are not already involved in it…..no good just singing to the choir?
    My husband and sons are all past Provincial and National baseball and softballers, and we would have enjoyed nothing more than spending some time watching the IPT……..if we had known about it!

  5. True and to the point. The reason we have no SA baseball hero’s. The reason why no SA player can tell you how many caps they have for their country. The reason no one can show any stats to impress scouts. The reason why the game has become a non entity. The reason our youngsters know more about rugby and cricket. The reason why we have no radio or TV coverage. The reason why the biggest baseball tournament in South Africa is the annual Old School tournament at Athlone A’s in Cape Town. They attract more spectators over one weekend than SABU tournaments combined over the last 10yrs. The reason why we have articles written from the heart by those who care.

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