A meeting of the Men’s Fastpitch Development Commission took place in New Zealand, in February, during the Challenge Cup competition.
The meeting was led by the Chair of the Commission, Rex Capil from New Zealand. The World Baseball Softball Confederation – Softball Division (WBSC-SD) was represented by President Dale McMann and Executive Director Ron Radigonda, and representatives of some of the top men’s fastpitch countries -- Argentina, Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Japan and New Zealand – were also invited.
The aim of the meeting was to prepare a plan for men’s fastpitch development until 2021, with a focus on promotion and visibility of the sport – and it was determined that one key to success would be to hold a number of top men’s Fastpitch events.
This year, the Men’s World Championship will be held in Whitehorse, Canada, and entries are still open until February 28. In addition, the Argentinian Junior National Team has been invited to take part in the Men’s European Super Cup.
It was also agreed that in 2018 the Czech Republic will host an exclusive tournament – the Intercontinental Cup. Each continent will be represented, and presumed participants are New Zealand, Japan, Argentina, Canada, the Czech Republic and South Africa. The highlight for a European audience should be a game between the latest World Champions and Team Europe.
The Challenge Cup will be organized again in February 2018, hopefully with the attendance of Canada and the USA.
In 2019, the Men’s World Championship will be held in the Czech Republic, and New Zealand has shown interest in hosting the following Men’s Championship in 2021.
In 2020, the Elite 8 – a tournament consisting of the top eight men’s teams in the softball world -- will be introduced, with support from the WBSC SD. Its first installment is planned to take place in Saskatoon, Canada, in July of that year.
Another event where attention should be brought to men’s fastpitch will be the World Games in 2021 – the world’s greatest multi-sport event for non-Olympic disciplines. A campaign to bring about the inclusion of men’s fastpitch to the program of the World Games is in process.
Clearly, future of men’s fastpitch, despite its non-Olympic status, is very bright and exciting.
How many European teams will we see in the Men's World Championship this year?
/photos by Dirk Steffen/