Baseball gains popularity in EuropeDid Bud forget to tell him that MLB has absolutely no interest in baseball in Europe at all. Because from what I've seen, minus a few teams making an effort individually, there has been no effort made at all by the front office to promote or do anything at all about baseball in Europe.
Interest grows as World Cup competition nears
Even after the Dutch and Italians proved that the game is played at a high level over here, there still isn't any sign of MLB wanting to take advantage of the popularity of baseball over here.
How popular is it, you might ask:
• Enrollment in Little League baseball is up 10 percent across the continent.Seems to me baseball is getting popular over here, and it's time to take advantage of it. I feel that there should be major league games played over here. It's been done in Japan, China, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. Why not somewhere in Europe.
• The participation in Major and Minor League baseball of a record number of 40-plus natives of nine European countries -- England, Portugal, Spain, the Czech Republic, Italy, Germany, Sweden, The Netherlands and France.
• Reflective of the demand for baseball information, IBAF recently debuted two country-specific Web sites (www.baseballgermany.com and http://www.baseball-france.com/), with more planned for the near future.
The only drawback right now, that I can see, is a lack of a true baseball stadium. But that shouldn't be an issue. If MLB, or Bud and his boys really wanted to do something about it, they could. Major League teams play regular season game all the time in parks that aren't of major league quality. San Juan, Monterrey, Las Vegas, Disneyland, etc. Good parks, but not major league quality.
So why doesn't Bud take some of that money that MLB has made and build a decent, 20,000 - 25,000 seat stadium somewhere in Europe, that is quality enough to host a game, as well as being used for World Cup and WBC games? I'm not talking about New Yankee Stadium and it's $1,000,000,000 price tag. $10,000,000 could get a decent park over here, and the money made in hosting games and selling merchandise would pay for it in a few years.
The biggest obstacle to that would be that Bud and his boys wouldn't be able to get any government funding for it, and have the taxpayers pick up the cost instead of an owner doing it, but that's bull.
To be fair, this also is happening:
The enthusiastic reactions to MLB-sponsored European Academy tryouts in six countries. MLB, in concert with IBAF and the European Baseball Confederation (CEB), will also conduct coaching and player clinics in 10 countries (Czech Republic, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom) through early 2010.Seems to me that Dr Evil, excuse me, Bud, is just throwing them a bone. Clinics are a good thing, but it doesn't prove any concerted effort on the part of MLB. You want to make an effort over here, Bud.
Start a developmental league
Open an academy over here
Play games over here
That's making an effort. The sport is growing over here. It's money in the bank. But nothing is getting done.
Meanwhile, the NFL is planning on playing two regular season games over here, and the NBA is all over Europe.
Clinics don't really seem to compare to that.
Good job, Bud. Let's keep the good times rolling.