With new presidents at their helms the European Softball Federation (ESF) and Confederation of European Baseball (CEB) have decided to join more than their annual congress. Following the joint congress in February, a team of six representatives, three from each side, remained in Serbia for the first Joint Committee meeting between the organizations.
Both boards selected three committee representatives and together, along with the presidents of each organization, the Committee reviewed past experiences working together, assessed the current situation and drafted a plan for moving forward.
Representing the ESF beside President Gabriel Waage were Youri Alkalay from Bulgaria, Ami Baran from Israel and Mette Nissen Jakobsen from Denmark. For the CEB, President Didier Seminet was accompanied by Roderick Balk of The Netherlands, Petr Ditrich of the Czech Republic and Marco Mannucci of Italy.
President Waage told baseballEBM that the reason Ami Baran was selected is because he is the Legal Commission chair for the ESF. Alkalay and Jakobsen both have regular roles in softball development on the federation, and WBSC levels respectively. The ESF believes development will be a key issue of co-operation so they wanted people with that expertise on the team.
WBSC representative Michael Schmidt was also on-hand for the meeting. He outlined for the Committee the new statutes and procedures that will affect both Federations. Two topics, joint sporting events and benefits of working together, were added to the agenda for the April meeting. That meeting is scheduled to take place in The Netherlands following the ESF’s annual meetings.
In the Italian Baseball League (IBL), Tommasin Padova has signed former major leaguer Mark Teahen to a one-season contract. The 35-year old Californian was selected 39th overall in the 2002 MLB June Amateur Draft by the Oakland Athletics. The right-hander, who batted lefty, played 1st, 3rd and right in the majors. Defensively, his strongest position was in the outfield where he was 1st in double plays turned and 2nd in assists for the American League in the 2007 season. That same year he came in 3rd on the leader board for errors committed at 3rd base.
Teahen spent the majority of his career with the KC Royals where he played from 2005-2009. He then went to the White Sox for two seasons before spending his final year in Toronto. Teahan, whose lifetime batting average was .264, signed his largest contract was with the Blue Jays for $4,750,000 in 2011.
In 2014, after two years out of the show and four free agency contracts, Teahen left the professional game behind. Before hanging up his cleats the family did look into the European baseball system but their timing was off, having booked their travel too late for most teams to secure visas. Instead, the couple returned home and focused on opening a wine room. Teahen and his wife settled in AZ where they strongly support domestic-abuse charity work. There they happily remained until an email arrived from Padova during this off-season.
Teahen will continue to wear #24 this summer. Known to have a self-deprecating sense of humor, Mark’s twitter feed indicates he’s realistic about his return to the game.
We say, good on team Padova for embracing the old adage ‘It never hurts to ask!’ Teahen says the opportunity is, “One more adventure through baseball.” With three kids under the age of four in tow, it will no doubt be a summer to remember for them all.
During the Challenge Cup in February, the Men’s Fastpitch Development Commission met in New Zealand. At the meeting the Intercontinental Cup was awarded to the Czech Republic for 2018. New Zealand, Argentina and Japan are all expected to participate. There will be an exhibition game between the World Champions and Team Europe during the tournament.
In 2019, the Czech Republic will, once again host a Men’s Softball competition. This time it will be the Men’s World Championship.
In baseball, The Czech Republic, France and Russia have been invited to participate in the 29th International University Sports Federation (FISU) 2017 Summer Universiade. The event takes place in Chinese Taipei from August 20-29, 2017. Messina (IT) and Prague (CZ) have both won the tournament but the last time anyone from Europe took home the trophy the 2000s were still in single digit years. The name Universiade is a combination of university and olympiade. Organized by the International University Sports Federation (FISU) the event features university athletes. In Europe that will mean many of our top-level players could be competing in Taipei during a critical time for playoff competition.