|THOSE GUYS WITH THOSE RED COATS AND DOOFY HATS...
|...THEY'RE DROPPING THERE CRICKET WICKETS AND PLAYING THE REAL SPORT, INCLUDING IN THE U.S.
Despite no baseball at the London Olympics,
the Brits are moving forward, sending a select few to the U.S. as part of high school exchange programs. The Brits have also
hired U.S. coaches for its national team. A few years ago, a British team toured Minnesota and went 5-5. Years back, a Brit,
Gavin Marshall, spent a few years in the U.S. Minor Leagues. He's now an inspiration for younger kids. About 3,500 plus are
playing in England while there's also teams in Belfast and other cities in Northern Ireland (which is part of the United Kingdom,
not Ireland). Major League Baseball's European headquarters are also based in London.
|MLB ROAD SHOWS HAVE PASSED THROUGH ENGLAND...
|...AND THE SHOWS HAVE INSPIRED BRITS TO TAKE A LOOK AT THE NORTH AMERICAN SPORT WITH BAT AND BALL
While the Brits are improving, they are still not in the top tier of European clubs. Only time and more practice
will change that.
"The things that we're fighting against are we don't have the depth and we don't get to practice
as often," said one-time British manager, Tom Gillespie. "Everybody else has an academy or the same club team. We fight against
a lot of bad habits."
In the Brits dugout before a game with the Czechs were a series of "mental approach reminders" on individual
index cards, posted on the inside of the dugout's chain link fence. Mental lapses are a common sight in European baseball,
and the Brits were looking for any edge they could get over the Czechs.
One read: "mental approach to hitting in the
- Go over possibilities
- Positive thoughts
- I am a good hitter
- I get the job done
- I trust
my body to do what my mind wants it to do"
The MLB "Road Show" experience has hit several countries in Europe, as
well as Australia and Latin America, to help grow the game. The Road Show consists of batting cages, pitching machines – even
a home run park – set up over a weekend outside a major sporting venue.