Global Baseball

One man\’s year-long journey through the world of baseball

European Championship Season Draws to a Close

The European Baseball League had its series of championships and qualifiers for next year`s tournaments a little over a week ago, and while the final results at the highest level were nothing new, there were interesting developments brewing beyond the championships.

In the 2007 European Cup in San Marino, the tournament was won by Corenden Kinheim of the Netherlands. To give you a little background, the European cup has been absolutely dominated by the Dutch and Italian professional leagues since its inception. Since 1968, either a Dutch or Italian team has taken the title every single year.

There was, however, a little shakeup in European baseball`s most coveted championship. In the semifinals, the French Rouen Huskies beat ASD Ramini of the Italian league 4-3 to advance to the championship game, where they lost 3-1 to Kinheim. This was the first time in at least 11 years that the European Cup´s second-place team did not come from either the Dutch or Italian league. (The team from the Republic of San Marino has placed both first (2006) and second (2001) during this time, but they play in Serie A1, the Italian Professional League).

In addition to the European Cup, the Cup Winners cup took place on the same dates in Hoofdorp, Netherlands. Traditional European powerhouse Door Neptunus was participating in the cup, after failing to reach the Holland Series in 2006. Neptunus, winners of 5 of the last 8 European Cups, ran the table in what was essentially a consolation event for the Dutch team. They had little trouble, invoking the mercy rule in three of their five contests, including the semifinal match with Arrows Ostrava of the Czech Republic. All in all, Neptunus went 5-0 in the tournament, outscoring their opponents 48-6, with their one close game a 2-0 victory in the final over Saint Boi of the Spanish League. Door Neptunus is well positioned to play with the big boys again next year, as they currently sit atop the Hoofdklasse (Dutch professional league) standings with a 17-5 record.

These tournaments only figure to get more interesting as MLB´s plan to open up Europe continues.
For prospect junkies more concerned about players who might end up coming over to the US than the top-level European competitions, the European Juvinile (July 10-14), Cadet (July 17-21), and Junior Championships (July 30-Aug. 10) are all coming up shortly, and MLB Europe is likely close to announcing the participants at the 2007 MLB European Academy, which will be held in Italy again this summer.

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June 27, 2007 - Posted by | European Baseball

4 Comments »

  1. Will Europe ever become a major supplier of talent to MLB and do these European leagues generate revenue?

    Comment by Richard | June 27, 2007

  2. Europe´s contribution to the minor leagues has been steadily increasiing the past few years, Richard. 9 players have signed out of the MLB European Academy since it started in 2005, and a few others are playing Division 1 ball.

    The Mariners made the first European signing this year, grabbing 16y/o dutch pitcher Ramon Romeijn, and I`m sure you`ll see a handful more after the academy this summer.

    The top European prospects in the minors right now are Dutch pitchers Alexander Smit (Twins) and Rick Vanden Hurk (Marlins), Italian 3B Alex Liddi (Mariners), and Dutch CF Greg Halman (Mariners).

    Coming into the year, Smit looked incredibly promising, but he´s struggled in the FSL this year. Vanden Hurk will be playing on the World roster in the futures game and has had some success missing bats this year, and Liddi and Halman are both raw teenage players with high ceilings.
    You´ll see European players in the majors eventually, but none of the top guys right now are anywhere near a lock to make it.

    Comment by jhelfgott | June 27, 2007

  3. I’m enjoying your reporting. What is the best way for a former college baseball player not good enough to play professional baseball in the US to get a shot a something overseas?
    Thanks!

    Comment by Bill | July 13, 2007

  4. hmmmm…very interesting!
    Thanks google

    Comment by enady | January 17, 2008


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